Synthesis – Rising tuition costs students their future

John Winstead mug

John Winstead

Over the past 10 years, tuition has increased steadily at an average rate of 5.5 percent every year. Current full-time in-state students pay $4,741 per semester. This amount is expected to increase another $342 by next year, according to an article published in the Herald in March 2015. 

In 2007, the cost of operating the university was evenly split between the students who attended public Kentucky universities and the state, according to the Council on Postsecondary Education. However, since 2007 there has been a gradual creeping financial burden being placed on students. 

According to the CPE, in 2010, 43 percent of the cost to run a public Kentucky university was covered by state funding, while the remaining 57 percent was thrust on the students. 

This trend has continued, gradually increasing in unequal distribution of cost until the current distribution: 33 percent covered by state funding and 67 percent covered by students. 

Assuming this trend continues — and there is little reason to think it won’t — by 2020, student tuition will cover nearly 75 percent of the cost of running a university.

 If this continues, this country’s great universities will no longer be producing skilled laborers and better informed citizens; they instead will be churning out indentured servants. Since student debt is not erasable, there is no way to escape it. 

The argument that people simply not go to college if they can’t afford it is as anachronistic as it is dumb. 

Our current economy no longer caters to manufacturing and labor intensive job industries. Having a college degree is a requisite condition to becoming somewhat financially stable. It is no longer the case that students can work a part-time job over the summer to pay their tuition.

 No longer do we need to accept the fact that going to school means potentially being saddled with crippling student debt. That is the first step: being angry. The rallies, the marches, the protests, the meetings with senators, the drafting of legislation will follow, but the change will only be lasting if the conviction is true. 

No one will take pity on our generation, and expecting those in power suddenly to develop a moral backbone is a long shot.