Cost of a College Education

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,675
Dispargum
#41
If a business can charge X, they're going to..
Exactly. About the time that tuition rates began to rise, the country became enraptured with free market economics. In a free market, prices rise and fall with changing market conditions. Shortages cause prices to rise, which encourages more suppliers to get into that market, which produces a surplus, which causes prices to fall. But it has been almost 40 years now and tuition rates have never fallen. The college market place does not appear to operate according to the rules of a free market. There's a different dynamic at play. One thing a free market needs is a skeptical consumer. In the higher education market that skeptical consumer is the person who says, "I refuse to pay that high tuition. I will stay stupid (and poor) instead." This person does not exist or at least not enough of them exist to influence the market. If there were enough skeptical college students (or their parents) then colleges would feel the pressure to lower their tuitions to attract these skeptical consumers. So long as people are willing to pay, colleges will continue to charge ever higher tuitions.

One of the points raised by the article in the OP is that the US placed its faith in free markets circa 1980 but free market economics have failed to control tuition costs. (The same thing is true for health care costs. If more people would say, "I refuse to pay such high medical bills. I will stay sick instead," then free markets could control health care costs, but health care doesn't work that way. Neither does higher education.)
 
Jan 2010
4,365
Atlanta, Georgia USA
#44
An argument has been made that we are still preparing students for jobs that no longer exist. The old concept of a liberal education for the man of affairs, or for the man of leisure, has less modern application. The Cabot-Lodges and Rockefellers and Kennedys no longer pursue public service. Most people who study law are not interested in being in the judiciary or becoming legal scholars. They go to law school to learn how to use the law to screw people and to write documents behind which they can hide.
You’re libeling my profession. But aside from that, I agree, but not just with respect to lawyers: most students are at university to benefit themselves, and there is nothing wrong with that. But there is a great deal wrong with asking everyone else to pay for them to benefit themselves.
 
Jul 2009
9,615
#45
You’re libeling my profession. But aside from that, I agree, but not just with respect to lawyers: most students are at university to benefit themselves, and there is nothing wrong with that. But there is a great deal wrong with asking everyone else to pay for them to benefit themselves.
If you are an attorney, I did not mean to denigrate your profession as a whole. There are not enough jobs for attorneys as litigators and government officials to justify the huge number of law students and bar-passing attorneys. Businesses are full of law school graduates who never intended to practice law. They look for opportunities to take advantage of customers, suppliers, sub contractors, the tax authorities at every level (and also their clients) to screw them, shelter behind complex interconnected, but obscure, shell entities, and to use the law as a weapon with which to intimidate and bully others.

The current US government is full of them. No political point to be made here by me.

Asking others to pay for a university education is - for very, very many students - the only way they will get one.
 
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Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,675
Dispargum
#46
... there is a great deal wrong with asking everyone else to pay for them to benefit themselves.
Some degree of inequality is unavoidable in an incentive based economy, but if we accept inequality, how do we decide who wins and who loses? In the American ideal, people rise to the top by merit, not by birthright or any other system. Public support of education ensures that talented people who can't afford college will have their chance to rise. It also ensures that society will benefit from their talents. What if the next Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs can't afford to go to college and therefore does not invent the next great new technology? If we make people pay their own way through college, we ensure that the next generation at the top of social pyramid will consist only of the children of the wealthy. That's not merit, that's birthright.
 
May 2017
140
Monterrey
#47
The universities and colleges charge high sums because you are paying for connections, not education. A man who knows nothing about his trade but has the right connections is always in a better position than man who knows everything about his trade but has no connections. That's how things work, in case you thought otherwise. Not just for the rich and mighty but for everyone.
 
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Belgarion

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,603
Australia
#48
As has been mentioned in another topic about the cost of higher education, why not waive the cost for any student who will work in a position of the governments choice for say, 5 years after graduation. That way there will be teachers, doctors etc. to work the hard to fill positions in the less desirable areas and the graduate will get some valuable experience. Who knows, some of them may even like it and stay.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,150
#49
The margin is 2% on what in the automotive industry? I'm curious what you mean because I was a project manager for an OEM Automotive manufacturer. I'm very familiar with the margins. The margin is 2% for tier 1s to sell to the OEM, sure. Also, do you know what is happening to the automotive industry right now in the world? Not the best example of a good market strategy. :)

Again, you don't devalue your market when competing in your marketplace. How to you afford innovation? That is where you seperate yoruself form your competition and future proof yourself in an industry. You don't lower margins to account for an increase in growth to compete.
That was just an example to show that in some industries (due to competition) margin can be very low.....

Re education since prices have by far outpaced inflation (by multiples) its not really about devaluation...... Also I am not sure there has been much "innovation" (some professors still teach almost the exact same courses as 40 years agao), if anything, contrary to what is happening with manufactured goods where products have improved significantly in the past 40 years (anyone want a black and white TV nowadays ? a car without seat belts, air bags, cd etc..?) - in education its either stagnation or worse decrease of quality (lower SAT scores are one pointer).

The blog below draws a worrying picture....


Why Have American Education Standards Collapsed?

high school textbooks that used to be written at the 12th-grade level for 12th graders are now written at the 7th- or 8th-grade level. I cited a report that said that many community college teachers do not assign much writing at all to their first-year students because they cannot write. I revealed that the community college course called College Math is not college math at all, but is in reality just a course in Algebra I—a course that is supposed to be passed in middle school in most states—with a few other topics thrown in, and many community college students cannot do the work. I pointed to data that says that the students who go to the typical four-year college are no better prepared than those attending community colleges. I then pointed to another study that says that for close to 40 percent of our college students, the first two years of college add virtually no value at all, and "not much" value for the rest. I ended by pointing out that, if this is all true, then colleges are typically teaching most students what we used to teach in the high school college-bound track and are not doing it very well.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,150
#50
It's not a question of "compensation", it is a question whether societies should try to be more egalitarian and soften class distinctions or not. Sure, one could consider that this is not a valid goal, and that on the contrary, the poor should not have the same opportunities in life as the rich. Some might even consider that inherited status, medieval serfdom and feudalism was a better system than the egalitarianism that Enlightened thinking planted into our world view.
Of course we can always caricature....the other extreme is to have everybody the same .... too beautiful ? we'll scar you... too intelligent ? we'll lobotomize you... too healthy ? we'll break some legs and arms ? Too rich ? we'll take all your money

There is a difference between everybody having the same rights, and TAKING things (rights) away from someone because of an obsession with egalitarianism and redistribution for the sake of redistribution.... This obsession with egalitarianism is leading to a significant drop in the quality of the education system of the western world in general ... .because basically standards have been lowered to ensure the lazy and the incompetent can still get diplomas and politicians can point to great statistics in education..... when you dump kids that cant even read or count in a class (cause everyone is equal) you negatively impact other kids.... cause now the teacher has to focus on the weaker ones and the stronger ones cannot progress..... and of course you need to make exams simpler so that the illiterate can still pass..... This is a vicious circle, brought about by misplaced egalitarianism
 
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