The Rising Price of College Education: Is it Really Worth the Dough?

“Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” For those who are unfamiliar with this quote, it is from the 1787 Northwest Ordinance and is engraved atop the State Street entrance of Angell Hall at the University of Michigan.

Angell Hall University of Michigan

The quote clearly stresses the importance of “schools and the means of education.” The University Michigan is, without a doubt, one of the premier institutions of higher education in the United States, but it, like nearly all other American universities, has seen a dramatic rise in price of tuition over the past couple of decades. In fact, U of M’s current price, including room and board and estimated miscellaneous expenses, is $25,204 for in-state students and $50,352 for out-of-staters according to the office of financial aid. That’s a lot of money! And while private schools have also seen recent price increases, the cost of attending public universities has spiked the most. Since 2001, tuition and fees have increased at an average rate of 5.6% per year beyond the general rate of inflation according to CollegeBoard. In addition to Michigan, the University of California Berkeley is another public university that has experienced severe increases in cost of tuition and fees in recent years. But why?

Annual Increase in Tuition and Fees (Credit: Stephanie d'Otreppe/NPR)

One reason for the steep rise in the cost of a college education in recent years has been the reduction in subsidies paid by the state to its public universities. Both the state of Michigan and the state of California are prime examples of this trend. Following the recent economic crisis in the U.S., neither state can afford to put its minimal taxpayer dollars toward its state colleges. The funds just are not there. In turn, the universities are forced to raise tuition in oder to make up for the difference. Furthermore, as universities strive to compete with their counterparts around the globe, in terms of advancements in research, technology, excellent faculty, and top-of-the-line facilities, they have no choice but to up their prices. They claim they need the best professors, the best scientists, and the best researchers in order to produce graduates who can excel in the modern world.

But is the cost of a college education really worth it? Is a degree from the University of Michigan or UC Berkeley or Harvard really worth as much as $200,000? In Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke expressed his views on the importance of knowledge:

“A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this world. He that has these two, has little more to wish for; . . . and I think I may say, that of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education. ‘Tis that which makes the great difference in mankind.”

However, Locke died more than three centuries ago. There is no way for us to know whether or not he would support today’s American college education system. Maybe he would. Maybe he would say that you cannot put a price on education, that the rewards of a college education are definitely worth the cost. It is true that only about 4.5% of college graduates are unemployed, while the unemployment rate for those without a college degree is more than 12%. And the earning potential of college grads is far more than that of non-college graduates. On the other hand, maybe Locke would oppose the modern college education system. Maybe he’d think that graduating with a heap of debt just isn’t worth it. However, Locke’s idealist views about the importance of an education should certainly be considered when deciding if a college education is truly worth it.

Another theorist to consider when deciding on whether or not a college education is worth its hefty price is Louis Menand, author of the article “Live and Learn” in The New Yorker. Menand takes a somewhat different stance on the purpose of attending college, asserting that colleges benefit society by “sorting” the more intelligent from the less intelligent and the math types from the poetry types:

“Society needs a mechanism for sorting out its more intelligent members from its less intelligent ones, just as a track team needs a mechanism (such as a stopwatch) for sorting out the faster athletes from the slower ones. Society wants to identify intelligent people early on so that it can funnel them into careers that maximize their talents. It wants to get the most out of its human resources. College is a process that is sufficiently multifaceted and fine-grained to do this.”

So what do you think? Is a college education today really worth all that dough?


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20 Comments on “The Rising Price of College Education: Is it Really Worth the Dough?”

  1. lukeythekid Says:

    Forget about Locke’s idealistic vision of education and the glorified notion of an educated person as a worldly and scholarly individual. In our modern world, the whole issue boils down to the job market. The very first thing that potential employers look at is your school and your GPA (right after college). Yes, it’s true that if you haven’t gone to college you can still become a millionaire – stories of self-made men are the envy of plenty of people. However, a lot of these cases are older, and times have changed. I know many people whose successful fathers and mothers either went to less prestigious colleges or did not go at all, but they were young in a time when college education was not held to the standard that we have today.
    These days, your undergraduate education is absolutely necessary, and not even for the sake of getting a job. Nope – the grind doesn’t stop after graduation, because graduate school is the next step. The comparison of high school graduates and college graduates has been replaced by those who have gone on to get professional degrees and those who have tried to get into the job market right after undergrad. The level of competition has increased to the point where even brilliant Ivy league graduates are struggling to find an occupation or get into top tier graduate schools.
    Is it worth the money? Absolutely. People make the bitter joke all the time that you trade $200,000 for a little piece of paper with your name and the university seal. But that piece of paper is potentially worth millions. Becoming successful and wealthy is simple (I don’t mean EASY by any means, but straightforward) – all you have to do is do well in undergrad and graduate school. Obviously this is easier said than done, but all it takes is some sacrifice – if you’re going to pay the ridiculously high tuition you had better make the most of it (as someone who is writing this blog comment at midnight on Halloweekend Saturday night, I know a lot about sacrifice). Go through both, and you are practically guaranteed a position where you will make a good living. Our world is becoming professional, and people need to keep up.
    I know that it’s easy for someone to say this who is going to school on mommy and daddy’s dime, but even for a less well-off student the decision should be easy. Going to undergraduate and graduate school is the best investment you will ever make. In addition, your education is not all that you get out of your college career. It is extremely difficult to overstate how awesome the college experience is – this is where you make your lifelong friends, where you discover what you want to do, where you become an adult (even if you act like a child). It’s depressing to think about from the other side, but college really is the best time of your life, and personally, I’d pay anything to be a part of this.

  2. cbeidler Says:

    While I agree that a college degree is worth the money, I think lukeythekid is understating exactly how much money we’re talking about in order to go to a premier university. While it may be the best decision to make, for most people, it’s just not feasible to pay $200,000 for JUST undergrad. For the “less well-off student”, loans are the only option in order pay for a college tuition as well as groceries and other bills. Once interest kicks in, you’re talking about way more than $200,000. Personally, I’m lucky enough to only need to take out a small loan in order to help pay my bills. However, that ‘small’ loan will still leave me thousands of dollars in debt once I leave undergrad and I can already feel it looming over me. With the way the economy is, I’m praying that I’m able to get a good enough job that I can pay off my loans as fast as possible before interest nearly doubles how much I need to pay. I cannot imagine taking out a larger loan… in fact, if I needed a larger loan, I can guarantee I would not have been able to attend U of M. However, when push comes to shove, I know my degree from U of M is going to give me an edge over someone else in the job market and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to attend this university. Regardless of where the degree is from, it is now necessary to have a college degree in order to have some sort of hope that you will be able to find a job that will provide security for you.

  3. blevz Says:

    While I agree that the rising cost of college education is causing many people to question the economic rationality of the decision to attend college, I feel like a purely economic calculation disregards the social capital provided by a college education independent from the increase in income in future endeavors. Besides providing necessary skills to get a well paying job, a college education provides a means to achieving socialization. Were college exclusively about preparation for an occupation then mandatory course distributions outside of your major wouldn’t make sense. One trying to maximize the efficiency of their college education would take as few classes as would be needed to get hired after graduating and nothing else. I believe that avoiding this sort of situation is worth the rising cost of a college degree. The point of a liberal arts education and the key success to American style college education is not the ability to specialize but instead the social capital provided via classes taken for personal rather than fiscal interests. Classes that provide important social skills such as the ability to understand political ideologies or analyze art, are given very little value in a fiscal sense but provide important skills in a post-industrial society.

  4. wjpetok24 Says:

    The issue at hand here is one of opportunity, and many people are being ripped of their opportunity at a legitimate college education before they even have a chance to get on campus. The problem of rising tuition, particuarly out of state, is one that has affected me greatly. I have had to deal with applying for financial aid, scholarships, etc. just to lower my tuition to a more reasonable price. While I am lucky enough to attend this University and use its resources to facilitate a better life for myself, the fact that others don’t share this chance is simply wrong.

    The question of whether a college education is worth it? Not even close. The opportunities college presents begins with open doors into working life, especially for higher paid jobs. Furthermore, it provides the chance to work with and be taught by some of the finest and most knowledgeable people in the country, something I get to enjoy each day. It even gives the ability to self-study and learn for yourself which goes a long way into the development from high-school to the real world.

    Overall, the cost of a college education should not be the reason why students do not attend. While it is much higher than in the past, we must attempt to curb the rising costs and provide more equal opportunities for students less fortunate to attend University. It may be a struggle to cope with the financial demands to go to college, but in the long run this could pay off many times more than the cost of college.

  5. krsau Says:

    It is easy to think that college is the only level of higher learning after high school. It is to easy to forget such things as trade or professional schools. These are great assets that provides what the American worker needs in many fields that don’t necessarily require a college education. Many of my friends are attending such schools and they have a good chance of getting a job after school whereas I am going to school here and who knows if I will get a position where I want or if I take a job in an office somewhere just to start paying my loans.

    The best way I look at is that my attending college here is an investment in myself. Just like exercising, eating right, or making new friends is an investment in making your life better so is paying for an education at the University of Michigan. But there is a certain extent all of us are willing to pay. I could be a vegetarian, eat soy, and do crunches everyday until I have Brad Pitt abs (from Fight Club of course) but I’m not willing to put that much effort into that. I probably won’t attend graduate school because I know I couldn’t pay it off until my 50’s. And where is the fun in life of living in debt until then? I can’t travel or buy a new car until I was having grandkids (and God only knows where I would find the money to help my kids go to college).

    For some the cost benefit of a college education is easier than others. Also some just don’t want to slave away in the stacks of the library the whole decade of their twenties. So I guess I am a little different but yet similar to lukeythekid on this issue, but I totally get where you are coming from. I just don’t think working that hard and then paying to work that hard even for extra money isn’t worth it (by the way I hooked up on Halloween…;).

  6. ndreynolds864 Says:

    It really depends on how much emphasis you put on getting a well paying job when you’re older. If you want money now instead of moving in the other direction by spending money on an education then the work force wants you. But for the most of us we use college to receive an education to helps us earn higher wages in our professional career. In my opinion choosing to not go to college puts you at the very bottom of the hierarchy of the workforce with little social mobility. And in today’s economy with the job market the way it is a bachelor’s degree might becoming not enough any more. With the many opportunities after 4-year institutions the day of just getting a bachelor’s degree is over. Post undergrad work makes a person look even more profitable for a company because it shows the person has invested the time and money into being the best in the workforce. The more you invest into your education in terms of money and time the more you will get in return with more money and more opportunities-which is what we all what with our college education.

  7. bonannianthony Says:

    This is a post that nearly all college students can relate to. Just recently I was browsing through the internet and I saw that there are now over 100 colleges that charge more than 50,000 $ per year. The cost of college is now something that must be weighed by nearly all people, whether it be parents, kids, or even siblings. With nearly all goods and services going up in price, college is no different. The demand for a college education is at it’s highest point in history, and the current economic situation doesn’t help. With that in mind whether schools need to charge more; or they raise prices because they can, we all know the price of attending school is going up. As consumers of the college education we feel we have little to no choice about attending college, so as a result we will pay what is needed for that top notch education.

    The current rise in college education is putting a strain on our economy as a whole. With student debt from loans passing credit card debt as the national leader of personal debt, we are in a new economic climate. The thought used to be if you went to college, graduated, and began to work you would buy goods or cars or homes. Now with student loans making up the most personal debt in the country that could change. The scary part is, the cost of college is still going up. I wonder what the cost of attendance will be in thirty years, could students/parents be shelling out 75 to 100K per year for college? I don’t think anyone knows but it is something that people will be thinking about for years to come.

  8. nnvirani Says:

    I think that the price of education is worth the dough. However, there is a catch. When one graduates from one of the premier universities in the nation and/or receive degrees from schools who specialize in such degrees, chances are they will be offered a job with earning potentials of six figures within 10 years of graduating. At a school like Michigan where tuition is ~$200,000, the payoffs exceed the costs (the ends justify the means). A trend that sums up the importance of education is as followed: throughout the 20th century, women have continually increased their labor force participation and have been moving towards equality in terms of how much they earn compared to men. At the same time, women have continuously been increasing both their level of educational attainment and the number of women who have college degrees. The increasing wages by women can also directly be attributed to the increase in education and the need for jobs that require brains over brawn. This trend can be applied to the population at large. Increasing wages are directly related to level of educational attainment. Men and women with college degrees earn significantly more than men and women with high school degrees. The difference in income is even larger as people are educated more. If people valued the immediate saving of $200,000 more than the long-term investment and payoff of a college degree, they are idiots. An education not only provides larger annual income, it also provides a sense of security. As the economy took downward spirals and employers let people go, the workers with college degrees and more were way more likely to find another job than those with very little education. The road to the top is like a staircase where people must climb certain steps to be the best. If one was to look at a corporation such as Walmart, a person with only a high school education might start off working as a cashier while a college graduate with a degree in communications and marketing might be recruited to handling advertisements and marketing. Along with the obvious salary differentials, the marketing job is much more respectable and the road to reaching the top is a lot less steep. In the future, the investment will pay for itself + much more. An education is necessary in America today, and is definitely worth the investment. If the population that could not afford college stopped going all together, the nation would lose out on a large percentage of the developments made and we would rely only on the rich population to be the ones who make breakthroughs. At a time in America where there is major protest because the top percentage of income earners control most of the power, it would be very ironic for only the rich to go to college because that gap would only get larger.

  9. clawren Says:

    The fact that the cost of higher education is so high and is only continuing to rise is very troublesome. Right now it is still in the realm of possibility for people to be able to afford it, but if it continues to rise how will we ever be able to afford sending our own children to the best universities? I personally feel that currently the quality of education you are receiving is worth the money. The opportunities that are available to you increase greatly with a college degree. Employers take into account your GPA and how academically challenging the college you attended was. Especially now that competition in the job market is so intense, having a college education definitely gives you and advantage. The down side to this is that there is only a small percentage of people who can afford to give their children this type of education. It prevents social mobility and only allows for children who come from wealthy families to have these opportunities. Right now people are really feeling the burden of high education costs because the economy is in such a bad state, but hopefully when the economy recovers the costs for higher education will become reasonable. Education is becoming increasingly valued in our society, so it is important to ensure that generations to come have the opportunity to participate in higher education.

  10. hjclec Says:

    I too think education is worth paying for, but I understand that not everyone can not pay to go somewhere like the University of Michigan. However, there are some other universities in the United States that are cheaper. One could go somewhere like a community college for a couple years, then transfer to a bigger university to save money and still get a diploma from a big university.

    Like Locke, I believe a sound mind is very important. With an education, one can learn to appreciate so much more in the world. An education is so valuable, that I believe one should go to all lengths to try and get one. To get a good job today is almost impossible with out a college diploma. Even in this economy today, some people aren’t getting jobs that do have diplomas. The job market is so competitive now, that I feel the more school the better. I’ve even had people tell me to stay in school as long as possible.

    And I don’t think that schools are raising costs just to raise costs. I think they are raising costs, because this is necessary. When costs were raised this past summer at the University of Michigan an email was sent out explaining the cost change. This email made me feel like the school wasn’t “out to get me.” If I have to sacrifice more money to get my diploma, then I wil do it. Then hopefully I will get a good job to pay off any debt that is created.

    This debt isn’t even a bad thing, in my opinion. I think that debt can motivate people to take their schooling more seriously. I know that one of my roommates pays a significant amount fro her education, and she studies more than anyone I have ever seen. I certainly think that the fact that she pays for school helps keep her mind focused on her schoolwork. She sacrifies a lot for it, and this makes her schooling very important to her.

    The raising price in college tuition is certainly provoking a lot of debate. Mill would probably encourage this debate, because he clearly supports everybody being able to state his or her opinion. But I hope that overall people recognize the value that a college diploma has, and that people will try their best to get one.

  11. Brandon Kassimir Says:

    While Locke’s perspective on the education system in modern times may differ from three centuries ago, his opinion on the importance of a man’s education would not. In today’s society, one’s education often defines their potential. Job opportunities stem from an individuals academic record. As stated in the article above, the unemployment rate for individuals without a college degree is nearly three times that of individuals who obtained a degree. Not only does a college degree increase your chances of becoming employed but the quality of potential jobs remains significantly greater. Although expenses often make attending a university a difficulty within a less fortunate household, the struggle is well worth it. Locke explains that “nine parts of ten” of a man is dictated by their education. Clawren writes about how individuals often stay economically stagnant because of their inability to obtain higher education. While attending college may force debt upon these individuals, this education is their path out of the low-income cycle which their lives revolve around. Hjclec talks about the effects of debt on an individual and how his or her roommate has personally faced this unfortunate burden. While I don’t necessarily agree that it can be a good thing, I agree with the optimism regarding the subject. Attending college will not only allow them to gain the education necessary to work in fields which would therefore be unavailable, but college will also help shape an individual into a more independent young adult. One can learn as much outside of the classroom than they can inside. While its nearly three centuries later, Locke’s opinion that education “tis that which makes the great difference in mankind” still holds complete relevance to life today.

  12. aclieb Says:

    I do not believe a college education today is worth it for some students. I think for students that are in engineer or business schools or those that are pre med or something along those career paths, college is makes sense (even though the price is still outrageous). Yet, for students in liberal arts colleges who either don’t know what they want to do with their lives and end up getting a degree in something very broad, college is not worth the price. Like the author said, it can cost up to 200 thousand dollars (and that’s just undergraduate school) and I think that much money could be used far more effectively. Now let’s assume someone doesn’t go to grad school and acquires a degree in political science. What can that person do in life with a undergrad degree in political science? What is that person really trained to do in the workforce? So in my opinion, these kids are wasting their money unless they go to grad school. Even though going to grad school requires so much more money. My dad always tells me about how when he went to college he would work a summer job at a car dealership and be able to pay for the entire following year of college and he did that for all four years. No summer job could provide that for a college kid today. A frustrating thing about paying so much money for college, is the idea of networking. Many students network his or her way to a job. Networking is a great way to make it in life, but is it really necessary to pay one hundred thousand dollars for it?

  13. roshray Says:

    Am I happy about paying $50k a year to go to school? Of course not. Do I think it is worth the benefits? Yes, and many times over. Without a college degree, there are only so many jobs for a person to hold, and little room for advancement in those jobs. The lifetime cost of not having a college degree is immense, and statistics say that the average college graduate earns almost a million dollars more over their lifetime than high school degree holders. Additionally, a lot of the schools that cost $50k/year are usually considered to be far better than “average” so on a monetary standpoint, over one’s lifetime, it definitely makes the college investment worth it. This still leaves the problem of people who don’t have the capital to pay the investment in the first place. Obviously, loans are scary and can pile up quickly, and a lot of students just end up in a rut. However, community college transfer programs are a good way to alleviate that problem, and while tuition is increasing across the board, financial aid at top universities is also improving quite a bit. There are also a lot of in-state options that are a lot cheaper than Michigan that can be considered. The system is not inaccessible, and I personally can think of no reason why somebody would not get a college degree.

  14. goldman13 Says:

    As the price of higher education in the United States increases, the importance of attaining a college degree subsequently rises. College admissions is becoming more and more competitive simply because there are more applicants — more people are realizing how necessary it is to go to college. And, now that there is a huge surplus in possible students, universities have the ability to increases tuition because they know that they there will be people who will pay it. When deciding whether or not college is worth the money, you need to consider the opportunity cost that is sacrificed as well (an idea that i ironically learned here in econ). The cost of college is not only $200,000, but it is also the price of forgoing four years of a working salary. Suddenly the price tag for higher education is upwards of $300,000, and its value must be put into question.

    Is it impossible to succeed without a college degree? I think with the right work ethic, motivation and perseverance, it is very possible. The problem is that these students — perhaps the best ones — would never even consider forgoing college. Now, universities can charge what they need to for a product that whose demand is unresponsive to price change (another idea that i’ve ironically learned here in econ).

    My question is, why is college tuition so high? I have trouble understanding where so much money is going. Professors and TAs have to be paid and facilities have to be maintained, but does that cost hundreds of millions of dollars (~30,000 students X ~$30,000 tuition)? European universities have significantly lower tuition rates, as do the schools in Asia and Africa, and not only are they functioning properly but they are also ranked above many of our prestigious institutions. (
    Putting my nationalism and love for this country aside, i don’t think that our universities are so drastically better that they warrant an extra tens of thousands of dollars per student.

    You say “college education: is it really worth the dough?” but i want to know where all this dough is going before i become just another puppet in the grander scheme that is American higher education.

  15. rfieds Says:

    While tuition fees and other payments associated with college have reached new highs, the importance of attaining a college education is that much more essential. With more and more people wanting to attend college, the competitive nature of the college process is becoming more and more intense. However, it is not just the college system that has become more competitive, rather it is contemporary society that has grown so fierce. We are all battling each other to be better than the rest. People want to go to college to receive a degree and subsequently get a good-paying/enjoyable job. The reasoning is obvious, rational, and effective. Our society has developed into a dog-eat-dog world. Loopholes in the job market have ostensibly become smaller and smaller. Nowadays, attaining an enjoyable and good-paying job has boiled down to a simple formula: achieve your high school diploma, then your undergraduate degree, and if you are truly devoted, your graduate degree. After that, you are set with the foundation to earn a good job and hopefully become successful. This is why only 4.5 % of college graduates are unemployed. The formula works.
    Although the potential outcomes of a college education deem the education itself “worth the dough,” there has to be something said for those who lack the financial stability to attend college. Education is the most vital aspect of our nation’s growth. The growth of China has drastically increased over the years due to its ability to educate the youth and create huge advancements in sectors such as science and research and development. Accordingly, it is imperative that the US continue to improve education. With tuition costs reaching all-time highs and a constant decrease in subsidies to public universities, financial aid and other resources such as scholarship funds for those who cannot afford college is not entirely where it needs to be. There needs to be more of an emphasis on equitable opportunity in the college system. Nonetheless, there are a bunch of state colleges and community colleges that demand much cheaper tuition, which is beneficial to those who do not have the money to go to more expensive universities. If we can increase the amount of people receiving higher-level education, then our economic growth and human capital will increase and our society as a whole will be better off.
    Any form of higher education is so advantageous to becoming successful in our contemporary society that the high costs of college are undoubtedly worth it in the long run. Clearly, there are people that have proven to be successful without the need of a college degree. However, the statistics show that those who do achieve a college degree go on to make more money and lead more successful lives. It is “worth the dough.”

  16. dannilevin9492 Says:

    I agree with what many people have to say in regard to Locke and his stand on education. The all-around improvement of education over generations have changed drastically, thus the level of education that existed decades ago is simply imaginable at most. Since times are so different now, I would think that Locke’s stance no longer holds as much importance as it once did. Nowadays, attending any university is of up-most importance when trying to succeed in life. Most jobs require employees to graduate from college. Because the job market is so scarce, employers have more choice from their employee pool. In theory it is true that when choosing candidates in a job market, differentiation in possible employees boil down to the education they received.

    It’s the Michigan difference. I have persistently heard this theory throughout my life, especially from family and friends. When picking a university to attend, Michigan’s reputation appealed to me. This University reaps rewards when it comes to receiving job offers and other occupational opportunities. This has put the idea in my head that because I simply attend the University of Michigan, I will lead a successful life. So what does this mean? That I pay to go to the University of Michigan just for its name? Well, that doesn’t sound so legit after all. $53,000 a year seems like it’s worth a definite success, but there really are no guarantees. Attending Michigan requires a hard work ethic and determination for success by WORKING for it, not because you PAY for it.

    Since I have been at Michigan, I have found myself struggling to decide whether or not paying the big bucks is worth it in the long run. Yes, the University of Michigan supplies great opportunity and an outstanding education, but every school that exists has to live up to some level of expectation in order to stay a live. While these less prestigious schools may be cheaper, they still have classes that are very similar to the classes provided at Michigan. Personally, I still am unsure of what I want to do with my life.I have yet to find a major and a path that I am passionate about. Because of this, I feel as if right now I am wasting my money. I am getting a great education and being exposed to so much opportunity, but I don’t know exactly what that is worth yet. Part of me thinks that reputation trumps the fact that I don’t know what I want in life yet, because that will change in due time.

    However, there is one thing that still makes me uneasy when deciding if this prestigious education is worth the money. I, along with many people in today’s society, am looking to attend graduate school to receive a master’s degree. When applying to graduate school it comes down to numbers and GPA. I worry that because getting good grades is harder at Michigan than it may be at other universities, I will have less of a chance to be accepted. Let’s say that I took Econ 101, a very difficult and competitive weed-out class, here at Michigan and got a B-. While someone who took the same class at community college got an A. The GPA of the community college student has trumped my and perhaps he now has better opportunity to get into grad school as a result of his higher GPA. While this example is a little drastic for it compares a community college to a prestigious state school that is 4th in the nation, it can be an issue when it comes to accepting a student from Michigan versus a student for University of Illinois. it is the times when I find myself studying 20 hours to simply receive a B- on an exam that I question if it will be worth it in the long run. I suppose that this will be an issue I will face throughout most of my time here because I can not predict the future. I have to hope that all of the opportunities at Michigan do help me in the long run so that it is more than just the “reputation” that keeps me going in life.

  17. blogger32 Says:

    This is definitely a post that addresses some very important issues impacting many people like us everyday. As someone who is an out of state student here at UM I have taken note of the roughly 5.6% annual increase in tuition, and it is definitely something that many people have to worry about. To me, what is so frustrating about this huge jack in prices, is that the one of the main points of public universities is thet they provide people with solid educations at more affordable prices than private schools. This is part of why you hear people calling Michigan the Harvard of the west, because many people from the western part of the country would love to go to an ivy school in the northeast, but simply can not afford it.

    When examining Locke’s opinion on the importance an education, I definitely agree with you that it is not very valid, since it’s roughly three centuries old. However, I think the broader point that can be extracted from Locke’s quote, is that most of the educated people are the ones advancing our world each day. How many lawyers, doctors and scientists can you think of that do not have a college degree? Not very many. However, that being said Locke never lived in a time where someone could graduate college with over $100,000 in debt. Ultimately, my take on this post is that although the price of an education is incredibly high right now, and not easy on every family’s pocket, I believe that if you can attain a college education without completely crushing your bank account, that it’s something you must do.

  18. Albert Ades Says:

    I know certain people that spend this kind of money throughout middle and high school too and frankly I think that’s crazy. I attended a public high school and middle school and was able to get to the University of Michigan. Now, my parents have seen me work hard and know that I am deserving of a higher education and one that costs serious money. Attending the University of Michigan is costly, yes, but the education we get and the opportunities that it unlocks is unmatchable outside of college. The networking, graduate, internship and class opportunities are worth the money. It is understandable that the tuition can take a toll on a family and the fact that it continues to rise is both scary and annoying to many but if you want to receive the type of education Michigan gives you and other colleges like it gives you than you are going to have to sacrifice the money to do so. There are a lot of people who are either unwilling or unable to give the type of money we do to attend this great University but as you can see there are however many people attend this university who have decided that it is worth it. Although I understand and agree with the argument that the rising prices are only more of a burden to people trying to send their children to college, I think we really must recognize what we get here at Michigan. Great education, great athletics, great facilities and dorms, and a safe great town environment where we can enjoy 4+ years of our lives. Ever heard that money doesn’t buy happiness…I think in this case it sort of does.

  19. shmily4k Says:

    It is undeniable that people who have a college degree generally have a higher chance in getting employed. Depending on the reputation of the college that you have attended, the earning potential also varies. For those who have attended the world’s most prestigious colleges, such as Ivy Leagues, usually get well-paid jobs. Therefore, college education raises your competiveness when you are searching for jobs. Besides, college education helps to explore your personal talents that you might not be aware of. Because of the wide range of lectures offered in college, you can have the opportunity to access knowledge that you have never learnt before. For example, you can learn languages, astronomy, art and design, music etc. College life also helps you to develop your social network. By interacting with people from different countries in college, you are actually making friends with people all around the world. They are the people that might be able to help you in your future career.

    Therefore, when it comes to the question “is a college education today really worth all that dough?” my answer would be yes. Given the benefits that college education can provide us, I think it is totally worth it to pay that amount of money.


  1. The Rising Price of College Education: Is it Really Worth the Dough? « The Expense of Learning - August 6, 2012

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