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Why is College So Expensive - Research Paper Example

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People say it “pays to go to college.” That’s true but what’s also true is that when you go to college, you pay and pay and pay. Seemingly every day, at every turn, for every reason you can think of and many more you didn’t anticipate, someone involved somehow with schooling has their hand out for more money…
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Why is College So Expensive
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Download file to see previous pages Tuition, books and housing are enormously expensive and take the biggest bite out of the higher education budget but it doesn’t end there. It never ends. There are lab fees, dorm needs including computer, clothes and stereo, commuting costs, parking fees, tutoring and food. Forget entertainment expenses, no money left for that. College is expensive, very much so but just how expensive and why? According to experts, the cost to attend a four-year public university is about $16,000. That includes tuition, housing and general fees but not books. A private university is more than double that amount. Add to that other expenses such as dorm room accessories, electronics and clothing. Then there’s commuting which includes gas, maintenance and parking fess which can total up to $500 per semester. Tickets for outdated stickers handed out by the campus police push the cost higher. Getting a little tutoring help for that physics test will run about $30 per hour. The “luxury” of living on campus costs more than anyone can possibly anticipate. “The main reason why people who go to public universities end up in debt, is not the tuition, but the living away from home expenses, which at a public university, are three or four times more than tuition.” (Hacker, 2010) The price of books is another expense that is always higher than anticipated, shockingly so. The cost of books sometimes determines a student’s major. The difference in price of books can total $1200 depending on the field of study. (Beeman, 2011). There is a legitimate justification for why college textbooks cost more than paperbacks at discount book stores. Producing a new textbook is often very expensive. The market for these books is limited and has become increasingly so. In days past there were more buyers for new textbooks. Publishers could, therefore, distribute production expenses over a larger number of buyers. The relatively recent expansion of the rental and used textbook market has diminished the number of new books sold which has kept the price of new editions inflated. Publishers now generate updated editions. In this way they sell more books which acts to spread the production costs over more buyers. The total cost of college textbooks has actually fallen recently even as the price for new books has risen. (Weston, 2011). “Student spending on textbooks has been decreasing since 2006 because of the rise of electronic books, rentals and the used book market” (“Why,” 2011). During the 2010-11 scholastic year the average amount spent on books at a four-year college was $534. During the 2005-06 year that amount was $644. Students spend more on gasoline and going to the movies during the academic year and twice the amount on cell-phone use as they do on book expenditures. (Weston, 2011). Tuition costs are high for many reasons. Colleges have expenses which may or may not be obvious to the casual observer. The high-end salaries paid to employees have risen. The expense of employing well educated people began to increase substantially about 30 years ago for every industry. Colleges are an industry that cannot readily cut back on labor and much of its work force is well educated by necessity. (Goldstein, 2010). Salaries of faculty and supportive staff account for the largest piece of the college expense pie. The second highest expense can be classified as building maintenance which includes paying the electric bill, ongoing construction, cleaning and furnishing classrooms, libraries, gyms, labs, dorms, student centers and supplying computers, software, IT needs and books. (Trachtenberg, 2011) Colleges have been allocating more for support ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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