A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Cost of College Might Be Worth the Knowledge


College tuition is very expensive and with the added on stress of having to apply to schools, it can overwhelm students. College tuition and fees have increased drastically over the last decade or so. During the year of 1987-1988 college tuition and average fees were only $3,190. Since then, for the past 30 years it has had an average of 213% increase. College now, depending on the school, can cost a student more than $35,000.

Ms. Goguen, our career counselor, stated that “some college’s cost a lot and some do not, so that the fact if college is really worth it is up to you. Asking if college is really worth the money is a loaded question. You just have to have all the facts about college and factor in the costs.”

Students can also get grants to pay for your education. Ms. Goguen said, “I attended college on a Pell grant and I also worked, and that paid for my college.” She thinks college tuition and fees are so high because “Arizona does not value education that much.”

Ms. Goguen does not think an education should cost so much because “students today are the future and adults need the students to become something in the future.”

The students walking these hallways are our future doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc. So with college being so expensive it is harder to get students into these types of careers. “College now is twice as expensive then it was when I attended,” Ms. Goguen concluded.

According to TED: The Economics Daily, prices for college tuition and fees increased 63 percent, textbooks increased 88 percent, and housing at school increased 51 percent and that was just from January 2006 to July 2016. For a four-year public college, for an instate student, cost could start at 9,970 dollars, depending on the school. For a four-year private college it could start at 35,260 dollars and for a two-year public schools for students enrolled in state it could start at 3,570 dollars. Finally, for a four-profit school it could start at 16,000 dollars.

Ms. Roberts, Greenway geometry teacher, stated, “College is only worth the money if you invest in a valuable skill (major). There are some majors that are meaningless and worthless to invest in.”

Roberts has this opinion because of her prior experiences. She stated, “knowing individuals who spent money for college and are now working in a completely different industry, barely making enough money to cover their expenses (including paying back student loans).

“College is an investment in one’s future.  Students need to have a plan in place and not merely go to college for the sake of going to college, as it is far too expensive for exploration purposes.”

When Roberts attended college it was less expensive. “Community college was only $500 per semester for a full schedule and universities was charging $1,100 per semester for a full schedule, and which that does not include living expenses or books. Of my years at college I gained  the opportunity to get into my desired career as a teacher, as I cannot do this job without a college degree,” Roberts said.

Lastly, Roberts said, “I believe college tuition has gotten completely out of control because the federal government keeps increasing the amount of money they will loan students to go to college, giving colleges the permission to charge just as much.  If the government would cap this amount, the state universities would be forced to cap their tuition if they wanted to gain the admission of the myriad of students who cannot afford to pay cash for college.  I do NOT think the fees should be this high.  The rate of tuition increase should be consistent with the inflation rate, but it far exceeds that amount over the past 20 years.  College tuition rates have more than doubled since I attended college for my undergrad degree.”

AZCentral stated, “Arizona universities have posted the largest tuition increases in the nation since the start of the recession, with the $5,355 increase per student more than twice the national average, a recent national survey shows. In 2018, college cost a typical Arizona family 19.3 percent of its income. But that the number was 24.4 percent for black families in the state and 23.3 percent for Hispanic families.” 

“College is worth the money depending on one’s major.  If one majors in education for grade school or high school certification, one may not earn enough money to pay back student loans in addition to having a cost of living which affords a house and car and insurance and food until student loans are paid.”

Ms. Hernandez, Greenway English teacher, said that her college tuition, after 8 years, ended up being $10,792 and she ended up with 3 majors and 2 minors. “The most important thing I learned from college would have to be a broader view of things,” she said.

College is expensive for a variety of reasons. One, the cost of physical expansion and refurbishment. Another, the cost of employee salaries and benefits due to inflation.  Finally, the extremely high cost of administrative salaries. The first two costs, the physical sites and employee costs are what they are and will rise with the inflation rate. The third cost, I think–humbly–is because top administrators wish to run government-sponsored organization like a private company. In a nutshell, the top thinks it deserves a hefty salary like the CEO of the Walt Disney Company earns, but the top forgets they are working for a tax-payer entity, which is a life of service rather than wealth,” Hernandez said.

Greenway counselor Ms. Johansen said, “College for some people is work and it it really just depends on the person and what they want to do for a living.” Her degree was not only the most important thing she gained from going to college, but life long friends.

Johansen said, “Playing softball is the most fun thing that I did in college. Playing sports is the best thing you can do while in college.” Johansen went to the community college and everything was paid for by her except for her books, and her books were paid for by her scholarship. When she finally went to a university she had paid nothing because she got a full ride. Johansen said, “I think the cost of everything has went up. Everything is about funding now days.” She does not think college should be this high, but really who does think that.

“I think we need to give students a better chance with depth when they graduate from college.” Finally Johansen gave me the statistics on how many seniors from Greenway go to college. Fifty percent of Greenway’s seniors go to community college, and about 30 percent attend a university.

Junior Marissa Hendrickson said, “I think college is worth the money because with college I can get a great education and be successful.”

All in all, college is extremely expensive, but putting the time and money into these classes really depends on the person and if they are really wanting to succeed in their passion. People that spend the money and give the time to spend in these classes are the people who are gonna be our future doctors, lawyers, and teachers.