Tuitionin higher learning institutions or universities is a pressing issueover the last years. In fact, it has been a burning issue over lastyear’s gubernatorial elections in the U.S considering that thestates have access to more than $72 billion in funds allocated tohigher education [ CITATION Mul141 l 1033 ].The issue has not been a burning issue in the U.S but both the U.Kand Canada are facing the same issue. In fact, the issue ofincreasing tuition costs in the U.K is becoming a subject of debatein the fore coming U.K elections. The government has reported overhalf of U.K higher learning institutions have experienced significantdeclines in enrollment for students over the past four years[ CITATION Box15 l 1033 ].In Canada, the story is pretty much the same as students from lowincome families have reduced their enrollment rates at theuniversities due to hiked tuition rates. Thetuition rates in Canada have been increasing at a rate higher thanthat of inflation with tuition fees increasing by up to 4.3%[ CITATION Pet11 l 1033 ].As an international student the issue of tuition fees has been amajor area of concern since we pay more tuition compared to ourAmerican counterparts. The ever increasing tuition is going to have anegative impact on our lifeas students in America. In this essay, Iwill delve into the subject of tuition fees and the reason whytuition fees are always increasing. I will additionally, propose wayswhich universities can assist student live a bearable life if tuitionfees are not necessarily reduced.
Accordingto Matthews, there are three main reasons why tuition continues toskyrocket in America. First is that colleges tend to spend more,second colleges always ask students to fund the current collegespending when subsidies from the government decrease and third a mixof the two factors can also occur when colleges are spending more andthe government budget declines.
Inthe article, Matthew laments that college always spend more. Collegespending could come in the form of either increasing faculty spendingdue to an increasing student population. The increased spending couldalso be due to college or university projects such as building sportsarenas or having more research facilities at the institution. Inorder to have the true picture of what is happening in highereducation the article utilized data from the department ofeducation’s intergrated postsecondary education data system inorder to have a better understanding on the situation on the state oftuition between different institutions of higher learning. Accordingto the data, tuition rates in the country have been increasing overthe past ten years since the year 2000. In the first scenario,university tuition is always increasing due to college spending. Thisis the case in research universities in both private and publicuniversities around the country. These institutions represent morethan a third of the total number of student population ininstitutions of higher learning or 4.7 million students. The datarevealed that between 2000 and 2010, the rate of tuition on averagehad increased to $8,611 from $5,469. This was a $3, 142 differentialover the ten years. On the other hand, the spending on full-timestudents had increased by $3,917 with an increase from $33,208 to$37,125. Research shows that while local and state subsidiarydecreased by $1,732 for each full time student, federal subsidiaryincreased by almost $3,000. This shows that revenues related totuition in fact had increased by a whopping $ 5,800 per student whichwas almost a double increase in student spending. This meant thatpublic universities could have worked with the current rates oftuition but this was not the case as tuition for the students washiked in an effort to keep up with the university’s spending.Private universities also have their own share of troubles.Institutions such as Harvard or Georgetown spent $12,435 more in 2010per student as compare to ten years before. Private institutionshowever charged at least $ 3,209 more per student in tuition in thesame year. The story seems to be the same here as that reported inpublic institutions where learning institutions are increasingcollege spending each year and they are using student tuition as oneof the very many tools to fund their projects(Matthews).
Thesecond reason why college and universities increase tuition is due toreduced government spending. Data shows the number of studentsaffected by reduced government spending in education amount to over6.7 million students. Public community colleges represent the largestclass of higher learning institutions in the U.S. The communitycolleges are the most affected as a result of low government spendingsince this meant that they were not getting as much funding as didbefore. As a consequence, public community college had to pass thecharges to the students in an effort to keep up with school projectsand budgets. Community colleges increased their tuition for theirfull-time students by over 40%. What has been happening at communitycolleges is that college have been over time cut their expenditure ontheir students but on the other hand, they have made the students paymore by producing cheaper products in terms of education. In publicuniversities which offer undergraduate and master’s level educationthe story was somewhat different. The spending in these four yearinstitutions was stagnant over the last ten years, which is between2000 and 2010. However, tuition in these institutions still surged.In this case, the major issue that come up is that the institutionswere not spending too much in school projects but rather that theschools were not getting adequate funding from the government [ CITATION Mat13 l 1033 ].
Thethird reason why instituitions of higher learning are experiencingincreased tuition is because of a mix of the two previous factors.Government spending is declining and at the same time theuniversities cannot keep their spending in check as it keeps onincreasing. In addition, any money that happens to be a surplus makesup for money lost for donations. Apparently, the money set aside fordonation either in endowment fund or otherwise has been decreasingover the years. This scenario is especially evident in privateinstitutions of higher learning which do not have any researchactivities. In other words, this goes for most liberal arts collegewhich have an enrollment of about 1.8 million students, representingabout 13.5% of the entire students population. In this category,average spending per student between 2000 and 2010 increased by amild 5.9% for students who were enrolled in master’s program. Overthe ten years, revenue per student increased by a whopping 23.4% downfrom $ 22,625 to almost $28,000 (Matthews). This increase was largelyattributed to a decrease in donations set aside for higher learninginstitutions.
Fromthe research conducted on various university and college programsaround the country, research universities seem to be spending a lotof money. These institutions are spending too much that any increasesin tuition cannot cover the increase in spending. Public universitiesare definitely suffering from a lack of funds from the government asa result of government cuts in spending. While community collegesneed to cut down their spending because the hiking of tuition is notenough to cover their spending. Private institutions need to alsocheck their spending and also find a way to increase their donationsto their institutions. In other words, all reasons point toinstitutional spending. University and college spending has been anissue across the board and these institutions need to come up withnew rules on spending because from the look of things tuitionincrease might not suffice. From the look of things, institutions ofhigher learning need to implement certain changes in order to findsolutions to their ever increasing tuition rates.
Asan International student I came up with the following proposals thatmay help alleviate the ever increasing tuition rates among theinternational students. My issues around the subject of tuition isthat the universities always increase their spending and in turn passthe costs to the students when the government cuts its budgets or theinstitution does not get enough donations. Most of the projectsaround the schools revolve around student’s life and experiencearound the campus. Therefore, I would propose five ways in which theinstitutions could save money by recruiting and attracting foreignstudents at their universities.
Thefirst proposal would be to increase or attract huge numbers offoreign students in universities around the country. Internationalstudents usually pay almost four times the amount of tuition Americanresident pay for their tuition. For example, I pay over $7,000 for mytuition while my American counterparts only pay $2,000. With thecurrent spending trend of university and college institutions, it isa no brainer that it would take less than four times the number ofstudents it would take to achieve the desired school budget. However,in order to achieve this universities have to make foreign studentslife more bearable. In other words, attracting foreign students wouldrequire the university to make several changes. First, the universitymay have to scrap off the mandatory on-campus housing forinternational students in some universities. On campus housingaccounts for more than 20% of the students tuition fees.International students are already being overcharged in terms oftheir tuition since they are foreigner and it does not make sense tohave them stay on campus so that the school can make some money fromthem. Foreign students should be given the alternative to stay offcampus and allow only those students who wish to take on suchopportunities. At the end of the day, this will cut down on theschool’s budget on university projects such as those intended toincrease the number of campus dormitories. Secondly, the universityadministration needs to give foreign students the alternative ofbuying their own food at the campus cafeteria or getting their ownfood. Just like in the previous case, the choice of having studentsdecide their own meals could help alleviate the need of building moreor bigger cafeteria areas which would ultimately cut the university’sspending budget. Meal plans constitute a large chunk of foreignstudent’s tuition money and eliminating this need would ensure thatstudents get whatever meal they want. Tuition fees have beenincreasing at a rate of between 5-7% per year and this is usuallycostly for some students. In order to ensure that university attractand retain academic talent at their universities, the universitiesshould set aside some endowment for well performing students. Thiswas the university does not lose any students at the end of the yearor at some point in their school life due to a hike in tuition fees.
Thisalternative would be a win-win solution for both the students and theuniversity. This is because the university would retain its clientwhile the students would be guaranteed of at least completing theireducation. Finally, it is understandable that foreigners pay moremoney than the residents. Foreigners in my country would also paymore tuition as compared to the local residents. However, foreignersshould be awarded with some incentive to stay at their localuniversities after spending at least an year at their universities.Considering that foreign students contribute to the surroundingenvironment, these students should be awarded with some in-statescholarship that can be backed with some community or charity workthat allows the surrounding community to interact and learn withforeigners. This is what some colleges in various states around thecountry are doing. Universities such as those in the Midwestespecially in Minnesota have adopted this practice. Internationalstudents need to participate in various community projects in orderto earn some credits that allow them to get some subsidized tuitionrates while benefitting the local population. These students usuallyprepare cultural and food festivals that allows the local communityto learn and interact with the foreigners.
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Matthews, Dylan. The Tuition is Too Damn High, Part III — The three reasons tuition is rising. 28 August 2013. 21 March 2015 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/28/the-tuition-is-too-damn-high-part-iii-the-three-reasons-tuition-is-rising/>.
Mulhere, Kaitlin, Michael Startford and Ry Rivard. Higher Ed and the Governors` Races. 31 October 2014. 21 March 2014 <https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/10/31/higher-ed-especially-tuition-issue-governors-races>.
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