A decision on student loan forgiveness will be made by the Biden administration within a few weeks or perhaps days. However, analysts predict that the cost of education will continue to be a problem for years to come.
High school students are questioning the worth of a four-year degree more frequently. Many now claim that it simply isn’t worth the exorbitant price.
“More and more people are asking ‘is college even worth it?’” President of Temple University and author of “The College Devaluation Crisis” Jason Wingard said.
“For 50 or 60 years, it was unquestionable; now, what we’re seeing is a flatline,” he added. “Higher education — for the first time — has to pivot in order to be relevant.”
Wingard claimed in his book that for the educational system to effectively prepare graduates for employment and career success, it must be more responsive to the workplace’s continuously changing needs.
According to him, corporate hiring processes are beginning to prioritise abilities above qualifications. “That implies being more applied and not just theoretical” in higher education. The academic programmes that were formerly essential to a liberal arts degree have already been cut at certain colleges.
The cost of attending college is only rising
Right behind buying a home, a college education is currently the second-largest expenditure a person is expected to spend in their lifetime.
But things weren’t always like that.
According to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research organization located in Washington, D.C., large tuition rises and a greater burden on students as a result of state budget cuts for higher education have resulted from these changes.
There is ongoing pressure on schools to reduce expenses, enrol more students who require less financial aid, or raise tuition. Some institutions are increasing tuition by as much as 5% this year, citing inflation and other factors.
“We’re not getting more money from the state, and the market wants us to charge less,” Wingard said, but “every single cost is going through the roof,” He made this observation in reference to the escalating costs of teaching staff, buildings and upkeep, supplies and textbooks, technology, and cyber security. “It’s impossible to do that.”
“We need to make sure education is more affordable for students,” he added. “If the government can’t help make education more affordable, then students are going to stop considering higher education as a viable choice, as a valuable choice.”
“This is a critical time.”
“I don’t believe that higher education should be this expensive,” said Kaya Jones, 23, who received a bachelor’s degree in political science and media from Temple in 2020.
Jones held two jobs and used a variety of funding sources, such as loans from family and friends and contributions from friends, to pay for his education.
“It definitely took a whole village,” she said.
Without taking into account the Parent PLUS loan in her mother’s name, Jones still owes almost $35,000 in loans. She currently works as a programme coordinator at Ignite, a programme for women in political leadership.
Students desire universities that provide better value
According to the GradGuard and College Pulse 2022 Education Confidence Index, 83 percent of college students are currently completely, extremely, or somewhat sure that “they will earn enough money to make the cost of college worth it.” Less than three-quarters of parents (63%) believe that a college education will help their kids land a good career, and just 60% believe the expenditure is worthwhile.
“Students and their families are prudent to evaluate the return on investment of college like other large consumer purchases,” stated John Fees, managing director and co-founder of the tuition insurance company GradGuard. Further, “this has implications for how institutions operate,” he added.
Eric Greenberg, the head of the New York-based consulting company Greenberg Educational Group, claims that today’s students and parents want to get the most out of their college funding.
“There’s much more talk about pre-professionalism,” he said.
Families should consider the preprofessional services, alumni networks, job placement, typical wage just starting out, as well as 10 to 15 years down the line, he said, in addition to the cost and academic offers. Then, according to Greenberg, “becomes less about the [name brand].”