Daniel Dougherty-Samowitz, Contributing Writer
Each year, college tuitions grow at astronomical rates, prompting high school students to question whether to further study a field of interest. The answer to the aforementioned question is still yes. College is where one learns to live on their own, and where one obtains the skills to further yourself in a field of interest. However, at what cost is one willing to do so? As of October 2012, the average cost of tuition alone for a four year private university was $29,056. Even the old adage of enrolling in a state public school to save money has to be questioned, with the average cost of attendance being $22,261, according to CNN.
The general school of thought has always been, take out a small loan, and attend a four year school to achieve success. However, with the dollars in mind, students have begun to create new financial plans for themselves. More and more individuals have begun to enroll themselves in online courses, or attend a cheap, local alternative. College is supposed to be where you build your future. But unfortunately these days, students graduate buried with years worth of debt to pay off.
Now why is it that each semester, tuition rates are on the rise? Do schools really need this money? Yes. Due to the recession, state aid to public schools has decreased and there has been an overall increase in necessary school spending for private schools as well. Some of the fastest growing costs on college campuses today are employee health care, insurance rates and new technology. However, these needs should not amount to such ridiculous tuition rates.
Schools will argue how many opportunities they can create for you, how amazing their professors are and the beauty of their campuses. Now these things are attractive, however are these sparkling new buildings and highly paid staff members key to a student’s education?
Many colleges continue to recklessly spend on such amenities, ignoring student’s economic predicaments. With the debt ceiling continuing to rise, federal aid to students is stagnant at best. This, along with tuition costs are beginning to bring enrollment rates at four year schools down which will begin to force institutions to raise costs to cover their losses. This is a dangerous cycle, which may result in colleges accumulating massive debt or worse—going out of business completely.
In trying to avoid this, the SUNY system has deviced a five year tuition plan that would allow families to plan the cost of a student’s attendance at a SUNY school, while giving SUNY a “sustainable revenue” stream. In the report regarding this resolution, Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher states: “SUNY is the most affordable university in the northeast and one of the most affordable universities in the country.” She further claims that the SUNY Board takes “very seriously our obligation to maintain access for all New Yorkers who seek higher education, but we also must ensure that the education we offer continues to be world-class when they get here. This plan balances those two goals. I commend Chairman Carl Hayden and the entire SUNY Board of Trustees for passing this resolution today.”
While many colleges seem to be barely making it or have already gone out of business, the SUNY system seems dedicated to making sure that us, the students, and others to come, will be satisfied when attending SUNY schools, both with their education and their pockets.