How can college become more affordable?
College affordability has always been an important and highly debated issue. With student loans climbing to an extreme level and more jobs requiring the completion of higher education, it has been thrust even further to the forefront. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Over the past three decades, tuition at public four-year colleges has more than doubled, even after adjusting for inflation.” This rise does not coincide with rises in income, and less people that previously could afford a college education are left without it. This needs to be changed.
College education is one of the biggest drivers of socioeconomic mobility in America. Students need to ensure they receive a degree in order to move into a solid career in the professional world. The Obama Administration made great strides in achieving this goal. From 2008 to 2016, it increased total aid to students by $50 billion per year. This is great, but students need to focus on getting their degree on time as well. The Atlantic states, “The country spends an enormous amount of money educating students who ultimately drop out before graduation. Only 60 percent of American undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree complete their studies within six years, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.” This takes away money from students who have received their degrees or are looking to begin college. Ensuring that federal money for education is spent in the most efficient way is paramount to making it more affordable.
Other ways institutions can reduce costs is by rethinking ways teaching is done and recognizing one can learn skills outside of school. Schools can reduce teaching costs by implementing technology. Online videos and assessments are easy for students and can cost less for the college. Adding instructional videos to be viewed outside of class lessens professors’ workloads. Over time, these ideas can reduce costs for the college, in turn reducing costs for students. Also, recognizing skills learned in previous work can expedite the education process, thus making it less expensive. Government policy continuing to help students, as well as institutions taking actions to reduce costs, help make college more affordable.