High Education Costs: Why You Might Spend $95,000 a Year in College


Last year, the average American saved $5,011. So, it would take them almost 75 years to accumulate enough money to fund the attendance of one child at a prestigious US university. It costs a lot to attend college.

According to information gathered by US News & World Report, the average tuition at US private institutions increased by nearly 4% last year to slightly under $40,000 per year. Its cost was $10,500 for a public in-state institution, which represents a rise of 0.8% for in-state students and about 1% for out-of-state students each year.

However, the cost soars significantly at prestigious or elite colleges. Undergraduate tuition and fees at Harvard University cost $57,246 per year. The cost of living is estimated to be $95,438 per year by Harvard when accommodation, food, books, and other costs are included. It hasn’t always been like this.

The Education Data Project discovered that college tuition has climbed 747.8% since 1963 after accounting for currency inflation. According to a study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, the average cost of tuition, fees, room, and board for an undergraduate degree climbed by 169% between 1980 and 2020. That is far faster than wage growth.

Read also: Lawsuit alleges Harvard gives preferential treatment to legacy admissions, who are ‘overwhelmingly’ White

Americans’ Expectations for Higher Education

The survey found that over the same 40-year period, wages for workers aged 22 to 27 only climbed by 19%.

According to a Gallup poll issued this week, that may help explain why Americans’ confidence in higher education has reached a historic low. Only 36% of Americans, down more than 20 percentage points from eight years earlier, said they were confident in higher education, according to a study conducted in June. 

According to Megan Brenan, a research consultant at Gallup, “although Gallup did not delve for causes underlying the current dip in confidence, the rising expenses of postsecondary education certainly play a substantial impact.” Professor salaries are high, according to Catharine Hill, a former president of Vassar College and an economist with the nonprofit group Ithaka S&R. 

Faculty and administrators are the skilled employees who produce higher education, she claimed. Real wages for US skilled workers have traditionally outperformed inflation by a few percentage points, but other industries have been able to balance those labor costs through increased productivity. 

Read Also: Biden administration announces $39 billion in student debt relief following administrative fixes

Source: CNN

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