Story by: Sydney Shurman, Reviews Editor
Photos by: Zoe Jenkins, staff photographer
Across the U.S., applying for scholarships and student loans has become almost as big a tradition as Christmas. As a freshman in high school, college seems like an exciting but faraway wonder. Then, as graduation grows nearer, it begins to seem less exciting and a more stressful.
It is true that college is an exciting time, but it is also a time to learn information that will be vital to whatever career a person chooses. Whether someone wants to be a doctor, accountant, journalist or architect, their job is going to be important to society. However, none of those people got to where they are now without earning a degree.
While not everyone opts to go to college, it is becoming increasingly harder to find a job without having a college degree. So why are the costs of going to college rising?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 20.2 million people were expected to go to college in the fall this year, which is 4.9 million more than in 2000. Since so many people now go to college, it has become commonplace. Despite this, people are paying a fancy price for a commodity.
“In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a ‘moderate’ college budget for an in-state public college for the 2015–2016 academic year averaged $24,061,” said collegedata.com. “A moderate budget at a private college averaged $47,831.”
Just 10 years ago, the average cost of a public university was $10,454. A private university was $26,908. The cost of college has gone up more than the cost of inflation. Yet these prices are looked at as normal.
USA today reported that the national student loan debt as of April 8th of this year was 1.2 trillion dollars. Across the U.S., Americans fresh out of college are paying those fees. Wealthy people who can afford to be in debt are not the ones having to deal with that. Average people who just wanted an education and do not even have a steady job yet are the ones bearing that burden.
Some people may argue that because higher education is such a valuable tool, it has to be so expensive. After all, professors have to be paid and there are costs of running a university. The U.S. has many great universities too, with 51 total universities on the top 100 list. However, this is relative to size. There are 2,618 colleges in the United States, only counting traditional 4-year programs.
Knowing this, some statistics courtesy of Business Insider may surprise some people.
The Netherlands has four universities on the list of top 100 universities around the world, and the average income is just over $28,000. This number refers to an average of every known income throughout the country, from people of all financial backgrounds. The typical cost of going to college there is $3,125 a year.
Germany takes it down quite a few notches, with the average cost of college being $933 a year. Just like the Netherlands, they have 4 universities on the top 100 list, with their highest-ranked university being placed at number 45. Even better, Germany recently passed a law saying that all American citizens get to study for free at any German university.
Finally, at an almost unfathomable price, Sweden’s average university cost per year is $600, with their average income being almost $21,000. Their highest ranking university places 32 on the top 100 list, and they have a total of 3 altogether.
“We pay way too much money for something that we’re not getting a good enough education in,” said Anna Grafton, 12. “On the one hand it’s kind of understandable, but on the other hand it’s just kind of ridiculous.”
The lesson to be learned here is that college does not have to be ridiculously expensive to be reputable, and it will always baffle me as to why college in the United States is so unnecessarily expensive.