College Education Return and Cost
Getting a college education has always been a matter of importance in every part of the world. A child joins the school at an early and continues his/her study for several years. A person invests his 15 to 20 years of life getting education from school and colleges. Even though a child learns many necessary things from high school, college education is meant to equip the student with the essential skills required to acquire jobs and improve their living standards. It is also expected to provide students with the credentials needed to get good jobs from employers are aware that the student with valuable degrees has the skills to perform their duties efficiently. It is true that the majority of the courses taught in most of the colleges in the world are expensive. Students have to save several thousand dollars to complete the course. But, it becomes very hard to earn the sufficient money after getting educated.
The presence of the labor market that is recovering slowly from the Great Recession has attracted the debate about the cost of a college degree. The unemployment rate of the college graduates has remained below the average. However, there are significant evidences that show the college graduates are struggling hard to get the job according to their qualification, capability, and expertise.
Likewise, college tuition has increased significantly, which left the college graduates burdened with student loans. Despite the fact that the university fees are increasing, the graduates are not earning the sufficient money according to their salary because they are not getting the right job. So, the college education is more like an item of expenditure than investment. With costs of college increasing and the returns in decreasing, and many doubts whether earning a college degree is still beneficial. Not only this, there are many other indirect costs which have made the college education more expensive. The cost of getting books, copies, library and other extracurricular activities are very high. These costs have a direct impact on making a college education more expensive. In the context of current issues, there are high cost of college than returns.
Getting a college education has turned out to be an expensive decision. The colleges are increasing the tuition fees as well as fees for other activities drastically. Getting a quality education has become the choice for rich only as it is becoming more costly every day. The college fees are rising as a bamboo shoot. The college or university administrations defend their act of raising the college fee by arguing that they are providing quality education with best professors and best state-of-art infrastructures. They also support their point by providing access to library facilities, health clubs, sports and many other services. It is unreasonable to expect colleges to reduce tuition fees while we still expected them to offer the best possible learning experience (Reynolds 2014). As a result, most colleges with high tuitions provide substantial need-based scholarships to maintain a socioeconomically diverse class.
The cost of attending college has become out of control with yearly tuition fees outpacing the rate of inflation. The most costly and prominent private and public colleges have successfully priced out students from middle-class and low-income families. Colleges spend too many funds to cater for vast expenses such as establishing luxury buildings and other facilities in order to justify their hikes on tuition. Jaison and Deitz (8) says, “This should not discourage an individual from receiving a college education.” While the tuition costs continue to increase, so does the opportunities for available financial help such as grants, loans, and scholarships.
College education wastes many students’ moneys and enhance their financial burden. The expenses keep on increasing each year at a rate that is greater than the rate of growth of the consumer price index, which is an economic indicator that monitors the shift in prices. To support this claim, a finding has shown that the inflation –adjusted cost of attending college was about three times more in 2008-09 academic year compared to that of 1973-74 (Jaison and Deitz, 12). This drastic change has initiated an intense debate on the topic that that whether or not it is fair for college student to pay more for a college degree. Although the college education burdens students, it offers student more opportunities compared to past generations (Newman 67). For instance, the graduates from high school are unable to get the high paying jobs compared to college graduates. Since the economy of many countries has changed from a manufacturing-based economy to an economy based on knowledge, the talented and hardworking college graduate can get an excellent job that pays handsome salary. But, not all the graduates get the same. Many graduates are forced to join the job that pays less than their qualification.
Although students are spending a lot of money on college education, it is inherently inefficient. Many students are not qualified for jobs because they only focus on how to pass exams to earn degrees and ignore how to acquire more knowledge from their college education. Many students engage themselves in other activities during the whole semester or trimester, and when it is time for an exam, they start mugging up notes and books just to pass the exam. This type of act will apparently not increase the competency and knowledge base in the graduates. This situation is not only the result of the behavior of the students. Faculties/Professors are equally responsible for this situation. The teachers think that teaching books and taking exams are the only responsibilities that they have. They never bother to think if they are updating students with recent teaching pedagogy to increase their competency. Teachers seldom engage pupils in the activities that teaches them about the real life situations or actual business situations. The teachers never think of guiding their students properly. As a result, they are placed in the wrong career path. Moreover, there is no system to follow up the student after graduation to ensure that the career they pursued was vital to them in the labor market. When the qualification does not match the job specification, then it will be wrong to expect real returns from the job. The students are forced to concentrate on passing exams because the current educational system focus on the quality of credentials and not on the skills obtained during the learning process.
Many graduates cannot find a decent job in their major. The employers look for those graduates who have practical majors. If a job candidate does not have a practical major, then the door to the job is closed for them. Many employers specify the majors needed to apply for the job. Likewise, a degree from the unrecognized colleges will open very few chances for a job as compared to those from prominent colleges. This kind of act leads to discrimination in employment since it is not true that famous colleges will offer quality education to students. Uros and Oreopoulos say, “Colleges are at the bottom of the class ladder to provide value-added education, but the practical majors provide credentials and value addition to the labor market.” The college education tends to sell the value it adds to the teaching and the certification of labor market credentials. A college might, therefore, decide to provide only education services or choose to offer only credentials that create few opportunities in the market. Thus, the effective credential competition requires the best students in higher ranked institutions.
The credential and network opportunities result in vital financial benefits to the student’s professional career. It creates an opportunity to achieve significant resources during the tenure. The student will have more options when he or she starts looking for jobs based on the connections he or she established in his or her college career. As a result, having college education offers greater opportunities, which will help in reducing the financial burdens experienced in the process (Jaison and Deitz, 15). This benefit has made students motivated to learn different subjects and make themselves a comprehensive and competitive intellect. The global economy is becoming more competitive, and in order to have the best opportunity for well-paying jobs, student must be competent and qualified.
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- Bharat Koirala (Author), 2014, Return and Cost of College Education, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/294372