Affordability in Higher Education Is Achievable (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture

In today's world, it is incumbent for universities and colleges to become more creative and avoid complacency while considering affordability for today's student population. As tuition of private educational institutions have outpaced inflation and the cost of living, one of the most encouraging developments is the emphasis placed on controlling the costs of education, often in novel ways overlooked in the past.

Right now, student loans rank just behind mortgages in household debt. Studies conducted by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center found that for students enrolled in private four-year colleges and universities and living on campus in 2012-2013, the average yearly budget was $43,298 including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and additional expenses. Some private colleges and universities have taken these numbers to heart and have implemented tuition freezes or reductions, which has generated favorable reaction from current and prospective students, parents and communities at large, as the move greatly assists students burdened by the cost of education.

Institutes of higher learning are focusing on tuition freezes and reductions as a way to maintain the price of education due to most other factors involved in rising educational expenses are beyond their control. Over the last five years, 43 of the 50 states have cut financial aid funding to students, and some grants to benefit scholars have vanished. At the same time, due to stiffer regulations in place by financial groups following defaults during the recession, some incoming, current and even graduated students are finding it more difficult to secure educational loans.

Given these factors, colleges and universities have proactively reviewed their operating expenses and often discovered waste and duplication of services, which, when eliminated, can produce measurable reductions. Institutions can pass those savings onto their students in the form of frozen or lowered tuition.

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