A USA TODAY HEADLINE states, “Tuition Hikes Will Ease.” The article opens, “The price tag for college tuition is continuing to climb this year, but experts are predicting less sticker shock than in the past two years.”
THESE ARE UNCERTAIN ECONOMIC TIMES, to be sure. When the stock market can both take its largest point plunge and post its largest gain within the space of a week, the term “rollercoaster economy” seems a gross understatement. But there are some industries that are usually seen as recession proof, and education is one of them.
WE ALL SAW IT COMING--THE proverbial handwriting was on the wall. One would have had to be clueless to miss the energy crunch coming down the pipeline, with the cost of gasoline topping $4 per gallon, Northeastern states experiencing a rolling brownout, and families opting to remain at home on “staycations” this past summer. Indeed, with preowned hybrid Toyota Prius cars rarer than hen’s teeth, and with 33,000 signing up for GM’s new electric chariot—the Chevy Volt—the tree-hugging granola folks were not the only ones who felt the pinch on our natural resources last summer.
America is facing a challenging time. With a weakened economy and limited resources, businesses — regardless of size and industry — need to ensure they are maintaining a positive cash flow. And higher educational institutions are not immune.
AS I WRITE THIS, OIL IS AT $135 A BARREL; gas pump prices have topped $4 almost everywhere. Some airlines are charging a $15 fee for the first checked bag-on top of a $25 fee for checking a second bag-to help offset fuel costs.
The worldwide demand for higher education and lifelong learning has never been greater. Colleges and universities around the globe need to scale up their offerings to cater to a mass influx of students, for whom a degree is their passport to the 21st-century workforce. Yet, they must do this in an environment where funding is often constrained and costs continue to spiral upward.
IT'S AN ELECTION YEAR, SO we're hearing a lot about income and wealth inequality in the United States. The rich seem to be getting richer, in part because a few sectors of the economy are creating incredible wealth for those who participate in them. These people want their wealth to have an impact on charities that they support.