OPINION: College: educational institute or corrupt business

(Illustration by Savannah Thaemert | The Collegian)

Seventy percent of students who graduated at the end of the 2013 school year did so with nearly $30,000 worth of debt, according to a U.S. News article titled “Average Student Loan Debt Approaches $30,000.”

This has caused many people to begin asking, “Why does college cost so much?”

In the last decade, the average tuition of every college in the U.S. has increased 5 percent annually; of which 2.9 percent in the last year occurred at public universities, according to collegeboard.com.

This increase has affected many universities, such as Cooper Union in New York City.

In 2013, a group of students at Cooper Union staged a two-month occupation in the president’s office after the decision to impose a tuition on the students to help pay for renovations for the school. The college used to provide full scholarships for all enrolled students, according to a Huffington Post article titled, “Cooper Union Occupation Force Ends After 2 Months With Promise Of Task Force.”

In the end, the school carried through and was forced to impose tuition on the students beginning in 2014, according to the New York Times article “College Ends Free Tuition, and an Era.”

No. The burden of keeping a school operating should never fall in the hands of the students who are attending. This is especially true at a public school.

Going public

Although the definition of public at the collegiate level is treated differently from high school, the overall idea remains the same.

In college, the title “public” means people who have put in the effort have the right to a higher education. This is why colleges can set ACT and GPA requirements, because it forces the effort.

In high school, “public” means having the right for all people to receive a basic education.

The similarity is the fact that both include the right to an education, something which is no longer being sufficiently provided.

According to the Forbes article “A College Degree is the New High School Diploma,” public high schools are not providing students with the skill sets that employers value. Additionally, Forbes also reported that the Great Recession of 2008 caused an excess of skilled workers in the labor pool, which simultaneously decreased wages and increased the amount of experience needed to stand out to employers.

If everyone deserves and needs a higher education, then how can we make it affordable?

It’s all business

The majority of public college expenses that revolve around education are paid for by local governments, according to an article from Occupy.com titled “The College Bureaucracy: How Education Forgot the Students and Became A Business.”

This includes payment for teachers, other staff, construction of educational buildings and most classroom everyday needs. Because of this, the extra items not viable to the education system are what much of the tuition income goes toward.

That is not fair to the students.

If a school wants to create a new attraction for students and teachers, why should all students pay for that? If there is enough interest in the idea, then the school should be able to receive the funding from either fundraisers or private donors.

It should never be the student’s job to pay for the school’s extra amenities. College students should pay for what they use and need for their education, not what the school would like to add.

That brings us to the big question: where is all this money being put into?

Follow the money

The Los Angeles Times recently reported that tuition was not going towards making college education better by creating new opportunities or lowering class sizes.

Instead, most of a student’s tuition is being given to tenured professors, sports and clubs, as well as the rising cost in the salaries of administrators. This also includes, as stated before, many extra amenities ranging from new sidewalks and building repairs to new chairs in the teacher’s lounge.

If this wasn’t enough, let’s take a look at why exactly colleges have out-of-state tuition and why its two to three times higher than in-state students.

The main reason colleges have out-of-state tuition is to bring in people from outside the state who are going to be successful. The idea is that if you can afford the outrageous tuition, then you are more likely to invest in your education and take it seriously.

According to a Forbes article titled, “Wealthy Kids 8 Times More Likely to Graduate College Than Poor Students,” students who were raised in a family of wealth have a much higher chance of being successful in college rather then someone of minimal wealth origin.

We need to call upon those in government to make the change. If the government wants to make America “great again,” they need to invest more in its youth education.

Our government needs to supply the money to cover all the cost of the education portion of a college. Then it is the school’s responsibility to find donors or run fundraisers to pay for the extra amenities that they would like.

There is never an excuse for a student to be denied education because of a source they can’t control. This is especially true with wealth. Some of the world’s greatest minds can come from the poorest of homes. It is America’s job as a country to support all of its people and their right to an education.

The solution is simple. Make college affordable by lowering the tuition to a rate in which all people can receive an education.

End out-of-state tuition. End the charges for extra amenities. Make America great by educating the youth.

Ryan Villwock is a freshman in mass communications.