Good Graph Friday: What’s rising faster than health care? College costs. I have extended experience with these increasing educational costs, since I’ve spent so much of my life in school. In graduate school, even though I had a tuition waiver and a teaching stipend, it was not enough to cover my living expenses, so I even had to take out student loans–most of which was squandered in my first marriage.
I can only speculate about the cause of the largest driver of this increase in educational costs. Shrinking state education budgets are the first suspect in my eyes. Another place to poke around would be the massive capital vanity projects taking place on college campuses these days, where some donor pledges only a fraction of the cost towards a new building. All I can offer are questions, since I do not have ready access to the sort of data that would let me explore what’s going on.
The experience of a freshly-graduated student in the humanities these days must be one of carrying a huge debt load, and very poor prospects in being able to handle it. Sure, there are programs to forebear the payments, but the debt burden from student loans cannot be shrugged off with a bankruptcy. They remain for life until paid off. What are the alternatives now?
Anecdotally, I knew of several promising young students who chose to start their college education at a community college, citing increasing costs at more prestigious places. This is another avenue worth pursuing, and even advocating for. I’m also beginning to see a lot more competitive private college programs being advertised, promising to offer a superior education at a fraction of the costs of the more established schools.