College: The Unaffordable Dream | Opinion

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By Thomas Kwan

College tuition is one of the foundations of American success, but many cannot afford it or become a victim of student loan debt. Many people wonder why college is so expensive here is why.

Tuition costs have been growing exponentially, leaving masses of Americans either in student debt or unable to attend college in the first place. According to The Best Schools (TBS) report, the following reasons for the increased cost of college are the growing demand, rising financial aid, lower state funding, the exploding price of administrators, and bloated student amenities package.

According to a Georgetown University report, 64% of all jobs require an associate's degree. Most students will graduate with an average of $37,172 in student loan debt and $1.5 trillion when accounting for all Americans.

According to The Student Loan Report, Pennsylvania has the highest average student loan debt at $24,600 in America besides New Hampshire. According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers report, the average college graduate salary starts at $55,260. Humanity majors have the lowest average salary for 2022 at $50,681. Computer science majors have the highest projected average for 2022, making an average of $75,900. STEM professions such as engineering are a close second making an average of $73,922.

"I think it's so ingrained in your head that you have to go to college, that college is the next step after graduation," said Jarret Freeman, a college graduate with roughly $50,000 in student debt in a CNBC. "I think in hindsight, I see that college is not for everyone."

According to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey, the United States is the 5th most expensive for first, second, and tertiary education, right behind Austria. With the cost of public and private universities doubling since the late 80s, an American college education is one of the most expensive worldwide.

College in the United States is one of the most expensive, and higher education keeps going up in price. Tuition costs at public and private universities have doubled since the late 80s.

According to a Center On Budget and Policy Priorities report, state funding has decayed every year since 2018. Pennsylvania funds $2,541 less towards each student's tuition as of 2018 compared to 2008. State spending on higher education at two- and four-year public colleges nationwide fell by $1,220 per student, or 13 percent after adjusting for inflation. Per-student funding rose in nine states: Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Nineteen states cut funding per student by more than 20 percent, and in six of those states, the cut exceeded 30 percent. Arizona cut per-student funding by almost 55 percent.

According to a New York Times article by Paul F. Campos, administrative spending was only 26% of the total educational budget in America through the years 1980-1981, while instructional spending made up 41%. In 2021, administrative spending consumed 24% of the total cost, while instructional spending comprised 29%, a 12% difference compared to 1981. Administrative bloat is when money becomes allocated toward administrative spending instead of educational spending, hiring unnecessary amounts of administrative staff instead of teachers.

With the cost going up year after year to attend a college university, it is no wonder the average amount of debt across America is so staggering. Many are looking into alternatives to college, such as startup companies, investments in bitcoin, and even e-begging as a means to escape poverty and live the American Dream.

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Pocono Update is a community news outlet that highlights current and upcoming news, events, and artists in Monroe County and beyond. Pocono Update brings you the stories that matter most. Representing the entire community, Pocono Update has established itself as the voice of the people and a beacon of hope in an industry that has largely lost the public's trust. Breaking the mold, Pocono Update takes a fresh approach to traditional reporting by presenting unbiased and unmanipulated facts through various mediums, bringing attention to happenings that shape life in the Poconos. Pocono Update is a division of American Media Partnership.

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