Article - Is College a Rip Off:

Congratulations. After careful consideration and comparison of your application to thousands of other applicants, we would like to extend to you an invitation for acceptance into Harvard University. Prior to your acceptance, please sign the attached contract giving Harvard sole entitlement to any money you will earn in the next eight years, as that is the average amount of time it takes our students to pay off their tuition debt.

Okay, so that’s not the real Harvard acceptance letter, but it might as well be. With debt for many college graduates getting into tens of thousands of dollars, the aspirations of many to attend a prestigious college may be thwarted by the exorbitant tuition fees set in place by the nation’s universities. Many argue, however, that these fees are justified by the increased income the degree holder will benefit from upon entering the workforce. The question then remains: Are colleges charging too much for higher education? In the following, I will attempt to present both sides of the argument.

Yes, they’re money hungry pirates.

Colleges charge entirely too much for what they give in return. College tuition rates have been on the steady rise , with states like Texas deregulating tuition altogether and putting the decisions in the hands of the universities’ board of reagents. Needless to say, this affects middle class students the most as they struggle to stay afloat without the financial aid of the lower class students or the wealth of the upper class.

Universities are not justified in charging students more merely because a college degree leads to increased income in the future. How much of my future income will I need to devote to repaying college debt? Is it right that students sometimes have to spend more years of their lives paying for college than attending it? While some people go on to possess fame and fortune, one cannot attribute their success completely to their college degree, as thousands of others with the same degree go on to live relatively unspectacular lives. For example, on the one hand, it can be said that Walter Cronkite’s success is attributed to his education at The University of Texas; on the other hand, one can argue that it was his natural charisma that brought him to fame. Either way, we can’t know for sure; although it seems that colleges often use the former argument to justify their high tuition rates.

No, it’s totally worth it.

College tuition rates are justified when you consider what they provide. When people think about college tuition, all they consider are the courses they will take. College is much more than classroom lectures and Saturday morning labs. The tuition students pay for covers the college campus experience. The libraries, the museums, the gyms, they all need to be paid for, and that bill is included into the tuition. If you take a step back and think about all the amenities college students utilize on campus, including extracurricular activities, many of which are school sponsored, you will realize that the price of tuition is actually quite reasonable for what you get. In many universities, students get discount prices to concerts and plays, free admission to see guest speakers, and a host of other special treatments as a result of being a student. While schools that charge a ridiculous amount for tuition often cannot justify their actions, the cost of education at most schools is, in actuality, quite fair.

Tuition rates and other facts pertaining to the top 120 US colleges can be found here.

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