Inflated Tuition: No End In Sight
In a sincere effort to make college more affordable, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Higher Education Act of 1965 allocating billions of dollars for low interest student loans. It is fair to say that the Johnson Administration could not have foreseen that their good intentions would actually lead to an escalation of college tuitions past the $50,000 mark!
In the same manner that insurance coverage has lead to obscene medical costs, the government’s federal aid for higher education has clearly fueled the tuition fires with no end in sight. America’s colleges and universities were given one of the greatest gifts a capitalist society can bestow – the opportunity to profit far beyond their expectations of the day – and they have capitalized on it to the tune of billions of dollars.
Before a business raises prices, it must consider how it will affect sales and whether or not customers would continue to do business with them. Not so for our institutions of higher learning, as increases in tuition have simply caused the government to offer them more money to hand out to needy families who in no other way could afford to send their kids to college. Thus, in the 43 years since the government began making college more affordable, it has become drastically more expensive.
Further deterioration of what was once an academic wonderland is that colleges no longer need to confine their expenditures to scholarly enrichment, but rather to their own. Was all that money spent so generously over the years on cosmetic enhancements really necessary? Did the Deans of Academia really need all of those costly paintings in the halls of learning, and in their own studies? Did the carpets in their conference rooms have to be custom made from the finest weavers of Europe? Did they really need all those architectural marvels that keep popping up on campuses all across the country? Couldn’t the colleges serve their students just as well with a few less statues? Sure they could, but it became necessary to justify their excessive costs of providing higher education so the government would continue to subsidize their greed.
It has been proven that the time it takes to finish any project increases in direct proportion to the amount of time given to complete it. Just as evident is that expenditures increase in direct proportion to the amount of money available to spend, and our colleges have had a field day with the incessant resources the federal government provides them with. Harvard’s endowment fund for example is bursting at the seams at the gargantuan amount of $36 billion dollars. It could actually pay for the entire student enrollment for the next one hundred years and still have billions of dollars left over!
Perhaps the most tragic result of the government’s attempt to make college more affordable is that schools have apparently dropped the ball on improving their essential courses of study, or for that matter, have lost the motivation to improve their fundamental purpose – to be institutions of continuing higher learning for the youth of America. Arguably, the future of any great nation is contingent upon the abilities of their young, not on the artistic and technical achievements of their wave machines in the pool!
We see an undeniable increase in college spending with every increase in federal aid, but the funds are not largely targeted at producing more Albert Einstein’s, but rather contribute to more comfortable working conditions for staff, reduced agendas for professors with tenure, fewer classes with practical value, and all brought to you by the generosity of the men and women who run our government – with your tax money!
The only rainbow on the horizon, the only light in the forest, the only hope of lower college costs would be a sudden and continuing decrease of student applicants. Yet, more students are applying to college today than at any other time in history. Competition is at an all time high and impressive test scores and GPA’s no longer guarantee a student that coveted admission ticket.
With the seemingly endless offerings of the federal government to subsidize the avarice of America’s colleges and universities, it would seem that no relief for college costs is in sight. Thus, institutions of higher learning will continue to amass fortunes, tuitions will continue to rise, families will continue to borrow beyond their means to repay, and students will graduate deeper in debt than ever before. Consequently, they will of course be looking to charge more for their services in whatever field they pursue after graduation, and the cycle is destined to continue…