Is it just me…

…or is college getting more expensive?

college costs

I know, I know. I was a business major, I know about inflation and supply and demand and all those fun things that causes college tuition to get jacked up year after year but it just doesn’t seem right.

Average in-state tuition costs for a public university is about $4,500 per semester. Not including any fees, room & board, or books. Add in each of those and you will be paying $9,000-12,000 per semester, or roughly $22,000 per year to attend a “state school”.

And that’s if you live in the same state as the school you are attending! If you don’t you could end up paying twice that, which is ludicrous. And don’t get me started on private institutions which are about the same or even more than the out-of-state tuition rates, which is to say $45,000-55,000 per year.

I get that these aren’t nonprofit institutions and they have needs to meet for their students and faculty and staff. Plus standards to maintain and grounds to keep. But then you look at some of the things that students come out of college not knowing how to do, or not being “mature” enough to do. Namely, writing checks, paying bills, making and sticking to a budget, contacting loan companies to discuss payment options, etc.

Not to mention the fact that most students don’t come out fresh and ready with a job that pays a decent living wage and are thus forced to live with their parents to save money, so really they aren’t being adults at all. (I’m not saying you’ve failed if you live with your parents after college, just that it saddens me to think that so many students have to because of their crippling debt.)

I’m sure there is a formula that calculates wage increase in the average household and factors that into the formula for how much to hike up tuition each year but 16.9% is the average estimated household contribution. Which is a crazy large portion of your or your parents money. Especially with the recession and how that would have affected people’s savings accounts.

But we tell these kids that they need to go to school to get an education, in order to get a good job, and make a life for themselves. But is 4 years of college even enough anymore? More and more, I’ve seen job postings that ask for a very specific degree, or an advanced degree. It used to be that a high school diploma was enough. Then a college degree. And now are we going to be forced into even more debt to get advanced degrees just to compete in the market?

The bottom line is this: college is too damn expensive and I’m not sure we can do anything about it, other than accumulate debt that will stick with us until we have kids of our own.

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