Are Good Colleges Only for the Rich?

What is more important- college education or the name of college? How many of us think of studying in colleges with prestigious reputations?

Well, I think every nerd dreams of the world’s best colleges!!

Unfortunately, it is not easy to crack admission to the world’s top colleges. They demand excellent grades, curricular activities, and community participation. But is it all? What about the lofty fee structure?

As per the recent US News and World Report rankings, at least 19 colleges (of the top 20 universities) in the US charge more than $55,000 as their yearly tuition. To some, it can be shocking, but for others, this tuition money is worth and justifiable.

So, we have two points of view on this theme, to help you see the good of both sides. Once again, there is no one right answer, its all about perception.

POV: Expensive Higher Education is a bad idea

An expensive college education is definitely bad news in times of inflation, pandemic recoveries, and a predicted recession. 

A Cengage study revealed that nearly two third of college students fully pay for their education. They are determined to get a degree, but the financial burden is quite demotivating.

It is figured that nearly 68% of high school graduates go ahead and enroll in college. However, this figure is not very satisfying. One of the significant reasons students do not enroll in colleges is that they find it difficult to afford college fees. 

So is higher education only for the rich?

This also points to a notion about the education status of Americans. A study by Pew Research Center tells that 4 out of 10 Americans aged 25 years or above are high school graduates. This is a concerningly large percentage in a country that boasts of having the world’s best higher education institutions.

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If this is concerning, then what is the role of the government?

We know about student loans and their long repayment burden. Loans are a liability. The exorbitant cost of education makes colleges less desirable, let alone unattainable. Moreover, the burden of the loan has been exacerbated, courtesy, of the pandemic. As a result, waiving student debt was one of the new government’s priorities last year.

The Student loan debt is around $1.75 trillion among about 48 million Americans.

The Student loan debt is around $1.75 trillion among about 48 million Americans.

Does student loan forgiveness solve the problem?

Although student loan forgiveness intends to help poorer families, the views are divided. Some critics believe that this loan forgiveness will only add to inflation since the burden of payment will only come to the taxpayers. This makes a vicious cycle where middle-class/poor people see themselves suffering.

Nevertheless, the idea of loan forgiveness does not bring a solution to the root cause, which is the high cost of education. Making loans cheaper is different from making the product affordable!

There is another critical side to this. These critics believe that the Biden administration’s decision to forgive loans will add to the increasing cost of college tuition. It is so because expensive colleges are aware that students can get higher grants of financial aid, making them more insensitive to tuition fees.

The inflation and recession scare add to the fears of the ordinary American citizen. 

POV: Quality Education is Expensive

Why do people want to go to an excellent college with high reputation. Because it extraordinary features like:

● Good quality teachers who are well-paid for not just teaching but also conducting research work for students and the university

● A clean and sufficient campus to accommodate the students and a cafeteria and provide them with a conducive learning environment

● Latest technology that enables students to learn effectively

● Educational visits or guest lectures from accomplished industry professionals

Quality education comes with a price. Interaction with great minds, proficient teachers, and having high-quality amenities cannot come for free. 

No wonder many world leaders are alumni of the country’s top universities like Princeton, Harvard, MIT, etc.

Businessman and one of the world’s richest, Jeff Bezos, is an alumnus of Princeton University.

Notable personalities like Sal Khan, Buzz Aldrin, and Kofi Annan are an alumnus of MIT.

24 alumni of Princeton University were Nobel Prize winners

24 alumni of Princeton University were Nobel Prize winners.

So, these colleges justify their worth since they have produced some of the tallest leaders in the world.

Expensive colleges can afford qualified teachers. This is the kind of worth that the lot of highly skilled experts expects in return for their dedication to learning. High value should not be just for the corporates but also for the educators who work hard to impart valuable knowledge to students.

You may be interested to read: Things That We Should Know About the Teacher Shortage in America

There are numerous other colleges and state universities that are not unaffordable.

For admission in these top universities there are financial aids and options. Students can apply for grants and scholarships, which help them pay for their college education. 

Nowadays, there are options for virtual education, and they are less expensive than offline education. Same university, same value, but virtual education for a lesser fee.

The purpose of scholarships, student loans and distance education is that no hurdle should elude an intelligent mind from getting the best of knowledge from some of the best educators. 

Rewarding Brilliance

Students who work hard should be rewarded with a high-quality education. Top colleges that harbor top minds from the world become world leaders or change makers. Seeing these colleges as a gift to students who deserve the best work environment is essential. When it comes to questioning the reasonability of their fee structure, one can argue that students from poor or weaker economic backgrounds get the option to avail scholarships and Pell grants (which do not have to be repaid). 

It’s like saying that these colleges raise the bar. Expensive but high-quality colleges inspire other colleges to compete and provide better education to students to make them their product alma mater. 

Expensive colleges allow students to network with high-worth and accomplished individuals, which is very important in a prosperous professional career. 

High-cost colleges are like an investment that pays off well in the future. 


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