News / Arts & Entertainment

'Ivory Tower' Explores Crushing Cost of US College Education

Film Explores Crushing Cost of US College Educationi
X
Penelope Poulou
July 16, 2014 8:33 PM
Twenty years ago, many American families were able to navigate financially through the uncharted waters of paying for a college education. But since then, college expenses have risen exponentially, drowning many students in debt, which is the subject of Andrew Rossi’s documentary "Ivory Tower". More from VOA's Penelope Poulou.
Penelope Poulou

It’s a hot, muggy day at Port City Brewery in Old Town Alexandria, just a stone’s throw from Washington D.C., but the heat does not slow down Brandon Attilis, a college student who spends summers working for extra cash.  

The money will come in handy when he is away at college renting a house with two of his friends. 

“My parents are paying the cost of the house, but I’m paying utilities," Brandon said. "So, between the two, it’s still less expensive than actually living in the dorms.”

Brandon has a lot going for him. He has a good work ethic, brains and pre-paid college tuition.  
 
“We took care of four years of college education for less than a year’s costs in today’s market,” said Chris Attilis, Brandon's mother.

She says she and her husband began saving money for college tuition shortly after each of their children was born. But most college students today are not as lucky.

Andrew Rossi’s new documentary, Ivory Tower, shows American college students drowning in debt. 

“We see that college tuition has increased by about 1,100 percent since 1978 to today," Rossi said. 

That's due to many factors, including less government support for higher education because of tighter budgets. Once students graduate, Rossi says half are either unemployed or underemployed.  His documentary shows that the tough job market does not deter colleges from hiking tuition fees. 

"There are certainly those who can argue that certain Ivy league schools have a brand associated with them that might be worth paying a premium for," he said.

In their effort to entice students and to raise their prestige, colleges build impressive campuses and students end up paying for those construction costs. 

Chris Attilis experienced this firsthand when she visited campuses with Brandon.  .

“They put on a good show," she said. "And walking through and looking at the granite sinks in the bathrooms I’m thinking, 'This is not what it was looking like when I went to school.' And we had a conversation saying ‘We’re paying to send you to a country club.’" 

According to Ivory Tower, many students choose not to pursue a college education because of the unsustainable costs. Some try online education, but Brandon notes that is not for everyone.

“You have to be a real hard worker, you have to really want it," he said.  

Brandon is thankful he is getting an education without going into debt. He feels life is already like an assembly line, where he has to tackle everything coming his way - getting a business degree, building up job experience to have an impressive resume so that one day, he hopes, he can have a career and a family without the staggering debt from the ivory towers of higher education. 

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."