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Is the Cost of College Too High? [VIDEO]

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As I was scrolling through my Facebook Newsfeed this morning, I stumbled arcross an article titled ‘The Myth of Working Your Way Through College.’ Reading this article led me from one site to another hungry for more information.

The importance of a college education is preached to children from a very early age, and the best colleges in the country are expensive and selective. They attract not only our nation’s top students, but competitive international students that are multi-cultural and multi-lingual.

I’m not oblivious to the rising cost of education, but I am increasingly frustrated with it. The
Atlantic article describes how a current college student attending MSU conducted research to find that in 1979 the cost of education at his university was $24.50 per credit hour. When you account for inflation that cost today would be $79.23, but the fall semester price for one credit hour in 2013 was $428.75.

Think about that. One class, generally three credit hours, in 1979 would cost $73.50. Today that same three hour class is $1,286.25.

I think that’s what I spent per semester for 15 credit hours at a local community college in
2003.

The rising cost of education astounds me. I have friends who are hoping and praying that
their student loans are forgiven, because they’ve been going to school for the last decade in order to obtain their doctorate and have racked up student loan debt that mirrors the cost of a three bedroom home in Tyler, TX.

Don’t misunderstand me. Education is vaulable, but is it worth going into hundreds of
thousands of dollars of debt to obtain?

It reminds me of a scene from the film, Good Will Hunting.

Granted you could get a degree from Harvard for aprroximately $150,000 in 1997 when that film was released, but today the cost of attendance at Harvard University for 2014-15 is $68,050. That cost includes tuition and fees, room and board, estimated personal expenses like books and estimated travel costs. Multilply that by four years of school, and you are looking at a price tag of $272, 200.

Of course, you have be accepted first. Harvard accepted only 5.9 percent (2,023 of 34,295) of the students applying for the incoming class of 2018.

What do they look for in potential students? Here’s the short list, growth and potential, interests and activities, character and personality, and the student’s contribution to the Harvard community.

Fortunately, the non straight A students have a champion in one faculty member who has
written an essay on admissions. Helen Vedler, a former member of the Faculty Standing
Committee on Admissions. She has written an essay extoling the virtues of students who may not become the next President of the United States, but who may change our culture through the humanities and liberal arts. I found it on Harvard’s Admissions page. Unsurprisingly, it’s worth reading even if you are not applying to college.

Consider the amount of money spent on the degree, and how long it would realistically take you to earn that amount to pay back your student loans. Loans that increase each year with interest.

There are so many options now to educate yourself. For instance, while writing this article I opened my iTunesU app, and am now looking at PHIL181 Philosophy and Science of Human Nature from Yale University. I’ve also found TED Talks to be incredibly enlightening.

With the accessibility of educational information, research and thought, higher education may now be found outside the hallowed halls. Remember to think for yourself.

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