Cost of a College Education


Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
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.
Perhaps, but there is no guarantee you will get those "right connections", nor any connections at all for that matter..... Especially when there is such a large proportion of out of state students, the likelihood is that you will never see any (or at least most) of your fellow students again. And for those you will see, there is no guarantee they will be in any position to somehow assist you. It is the exception when one is able to do business with his university buddies, not the rule....
The best that can be said for connections is that romantic relationships sometimes leading to marriage are started in universities..... but its not and by far the only place for that, and its quite expensive for something that you can get elsewhere for free....


Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
Are we talking about price control/cap now !?
I think rather that the thinking is that the "free market" does not work in all cases...

I always love the example of antique Roman firefighting brigades.... They were a private business..... They would show up when a fire started and quote an outrageous price to work on it... As the owner would start haggling, they would bid their time and even increase their price as time passed and the fire got worse until the desperate owner had no choice but to pay up or lose their house.... Sometimes competing brigades would show up at the same fire.... instead of quoting a better price to the hapless victim, they would beat each other up until only one brigade would be left - which would then charge whatever high price they wanted....

So unfortunately the "free market" is not a universal recipe... Some services require some forms of regulation...
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Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
New study finds that 36% of college students don’t have enough to eat

Researchers surveyed 43,000 college students at 66 schools and found that 36 percent of students on U.S. college campuses are considered “food insecure,” meaning they do not get enough to eat. Similar studies echo these statistics.

Researchers found that 36 percent of all college students and 46 percent of community college students were considered to be housing insecure. Nine percent of four-year college students and 12 percent of community college students reported experiencing completely homeless in the past year. Among community college students, 22 percent reported being both food and housing insecure
Jan 2019
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.
I'm not saying college education has had some dramatic increase in quality for the consumer. I'm talking more from a prospective of the college experience improving for prospective students. That is where the "innovation" occurs and they separate themselves from their competition. What company worth their salt would decrease their margins when college admittance is up year after year since the 1940s? The market is only growing. You can decrease your margins, but much like automotive, what happens when people stop buying as many cars as they once did? You can't all of a sudden increase prices to compensate for the decrease in volume, especially when there is a diverse array of market share.

Which leads me to my original point, they're charging what they are because more and more people are continuing to pay for it. It's simple as opposed to complex.

This may be a good read..

"Attracting students to a college or university is a competitive process. With countless options to choose from, colleges and universities need to leverage traditional, social and inbound marketing and communications tactics and strategies to increase enrollment. It's not enough to have great programs and great faculty."
Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
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.
As to your last sentence: first, do you think everyone who wants a college education should get one and, second, who should pay for it?
I have in mind that actress’s daughter who posted a video of herself on line admitting she only wanted to go to college to party and go to football games.
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Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
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.
Two things: first. Edison and Jobs are particularly poor examples: Edison didn’t go to college and Jobs dropped out.

Second, at least in the US today, there are enough scolarships and loans available for every promising student. I know of one woman from Peru whose mother moved to the US when she was young. She obtained an undergrad degree from Harvard about ten years ago at no cost to herself or her family.


Ad Honorem
Feb 2009
Eastern PA
As to your last sentence: first, do you think everyone who wants a college education should get one and, second, who should pay for it?
To rephrase your question:

Do you think everyone who wants to be a famous actor should?

Do you think everyone who wants to become a police office should?

Do you think everyone who wants to become an airline pilot should?

Or looking at it from another angle:

Do you think everyone who's father thinks they should become a professional football player should?


Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
Athens, Greece
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
I wasn't caricaturing, there are indeed people that consider social traits in the same vein as genetic traits, and you yourself mentioned wealth, intelligence and beauty as being in the same category of "privileges". They are not comparable. The world has largely changed in the last centuries away from that model, although there are people that oppose this change, still believing that nobility or wealth should deserve and have more rights than the rest. The point is not to make everyone the same (heaven's forbid), but to guarantee as a society that all its members will have equal access to its functions (healthcare, security, education, political rights, etc). This is what egalitarianism is all about, to consider a citizen as a citizen, regardless of wealth and social status.

You're not entirely wrong that obsession with egalitarianism (with anything in fact), or misinterpreting the concept, can have negative results. I do not agree with lowering the standards to accommodate lazy or less intelligent people. I'm in favour of selecting the best to send in special schools or universities, to advance with faster paces and excel. Special educational institutions themselves can conduct tests and exams to accept students that meet their standards, above the average. What I'm arguing about is simply removing the financial situation of a student out of the equation. Provide free education, no charge, as long as the person has the merits and talents to receive it. Conduct nation-wide tests and exams, or each university and educational institution can conduct its own, and those who succeed, rich or poor, will be accepted, free of charge. I'm in favour of meritocracy, but against plutocracy. It seems to me that an education that is not state-funded and free of charge rewards wealth, not merit.

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