News / Economy

Soaring College Costs Prompt Concern From Students, Economists

Soaring College Costs Prompt Concern From Students, Economistsi
X
June 11, 2013 8:28 PM
Washington's Republicans and Democrats are haggling over how to finance higher education, including details like the interest rates that students pay for loans. Recent graduates, who are burdened with an average of $26,000 in loans, are watching the debate closely. But some economists say the real issue is controlling the soaring cost of college at a time when post-secondary schooling is crucial to getting a good job and a middle class salary. Experts tell VOA's Jim Randle that these high costs are hurting the whole economy, not just students and their families.
— Washington's Republicans and Democrats are haggling over how to finance higher education, including details like the interest rates that students pay for loans. Recent graduates, who are burdened with an average of $26,000 in loans, are watching the debate closely. But some economists say the real issue is controlling the soaring cost of college at a time when post-secondary schooling is crucial to getting a good job and a middle class salary. Experts say these high costs are hurting the whole economy, not just students and their families.

Joshua Jordan earned a doctorate degree in physical therapy. He hopes to open his own practice someday, and says having the expensive graduate degree is good for his patients - but hard on his wallet.  

“I am currently in debt for $210,000,” he said.

Jordan's loans are eight times larger than those of the average student. He says it might take him 20 years to pay them off, and he sometimes has had to work two jobs concurrently to meet his bills.

For the past 30 years, college tuition has been going up at twice the rate of inflation, and private colleges now charge an average of more than $30,000 a year.   

Universities say they're caught between record-high enrollments, a workforce of professors who have the skills to find work elsewhere if they are not well paid, and falling financial support from state governments.

Terry Hartle speaks for The American Council on Education which represents thousands of colleges and universities across the United States.

"It’s a terrible conundrum that we face as a country. We want more and more post-secondary education. We want more focus on academic quality and graduation. At the same time, the funding sources for higher education have been diminishing for a generation," said Hartle.

While these students made it to graduation, experts worry the high cost of college makes it less likely that bright students from poor families will attend college, depriving the economy of some of the scientists, engineers and others who could help boost growth.  

And a survey shows that some students concerned about repaying thousands of dollars in loans are putting off marriage, children, and the major purchases that usually go along with forming a family.  

Peter Mazareas, who is with the College Savings Foundation, said, "These students will not contribute to the economy. They will go home and live at home. They won't buy cars. They won't invest in housing, so there is a real multiplier effect that is short term."

Georgetown University Labor Economist Anthony Carnevale said the current system is unsustainable for families and cuts economic growth for the whole country.

"The effects on economic growth [of failing to produce post secondary talent] are substantial. If we had kept up with demand for post secondary talent, economists estimate that we would be at about $500 billion more per year in gross domestic product, that is people would have more money to spend. There would have been a higher productivity rate," said Carnevale.

Meanwhile, Jordan said his family is not wealthy and could not have paid for so many years in so many colleges on the way to a PhD.

“There would have been no way I could have created a career for myself that I wanted to do without the use of student loans,” he said.

So for him, it is worth it.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7305
JPY
USD
101.53
GBP
USD
0.5830
CAD
USD
1.0656
INR
USD
60.075

Rates may not be current.