The film, entitled “College Conspiracy” was released May 15 and explores the year-by-year trend of rising tuition. For the past decade, tuition inflation has gone unchecked, even during the worst financial crisis the nation has seen since the Great Depression.
At a time when the price of most goods and services declined at least temporarily, college tuition continued to rise.
Last year, tuition hikes at public universities jumped into the double digits. At the University of Washington, students saw a 14 percent jump in tuition, while students in Florida saw rates jump 15 percent.
This financial burden has graduates entering the workforce with an unprecedented amount of debt. In 2010, students racked up a total of $832 billion in loan debt compared with $198 billion in 2000, according to an NPR Report.
The average student leaves college with almost $30,000 in debt.
Tuition Far Surpasses Inflation
Tuition expenses have passed inflation at a rate that would be laughable, were it not so tragic for so many lower and middle class students forced to enter the working world with such a heavy debt load.
The ever-shrinking middle class and the sharp, steady decline of the manufacturing and construction industry is making college a costly necessity for anyone hoping to climb above the poverty line.
“College Conspiracy” looks at the public university structure as a profit-driven industrial complex that has been slow to embrace a more cost effective model.
For instance, the overhead costs of online college are much less than your typical brick-and-mortar campus, but still make up less than one percent of the higher education market share.
You only have to look back to the 1970s to discover a time when students were able to work their way through college with a part time job during school and a full time job during the summer months.
Student Loan Debt Higher Than Credit Card Debt
Today, student loan debt in America has surpassed credit card debt. This means scores of graduates will deal with a debt that exceeds starting wages in the workforce. Racking up $40,000 in college debt is easy, but finding a job with a $40,000 starting salary can be a bit more daunting.
This is pushing students out of the realms of humanities, art or sociology because it is simply too hard to earn a living and pay off debt in those fields.
To make things worse, public universities are actually slashing budgets and programs despite the steady climb of tuition.
Take Penn State for instance. That university announced last week that it had plans to close branch campuses and scrap 400 faculty positions. This move came after a $1,500 tuition hike.
And state governments play a major role in this trend as well. As state governments deal with budget shortfalls, they cut funding for universities. The universities respond by slashing staff and services while hiking tuition.
Students Paying More For Less
The fact is that today’s students are paying more money for less services, support and opportunity.
Now, 28 states are considering a move to reduce financial aid, according to ABC News. This will only make students more dependent on loans and send them into the workplace as little more than indentured servants.
It’s funny that the same ABC report described the elimination of programs, layoffs and increased faculty workloads as cutting with a “scalpel.” Let’s hope we never have to see what happens if state governments and universities get their hands on an ax.
It is high time for students to revive their right to protest, and demand that state governments need to protect education or risk widening the income gap even further.Originally published on TopSecretWriters.com