Today, the problem of rising costs of higher education evokes heat debate among the public and policy-makers. In actuality, the high costs of higher education become an unsurpassable barrier for many students living in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and belonging to low-income families. In this respect, specialists (Breneman & Finney, 1997) argue that students should have an opportunity to carry on their education in college depending on their academic skills and potential rather than on their financial position, social status, or other factors, such as cultural background or race.
First of all, specialists argue that the public funding is ineffective (Cabrera, Norn, & Castaneda, 1992). The state and federal funds are used ineffectively, whereas the quality of the public education remains extremely low, especially compared to private education. As a result students graduating from public schools have fewer opportunities to enter and succeed in college compared to students graduating from private schools.
Furthermore, costs of higher education are unaffordable for many students (Heller, 1997). Today, costs of college education keep growing and students cannot afford paying for their college education, whereas educating children becomes an unaffordable burden for many families.
As a result social gaps widens that leads to the exclusion of students from low-income families belonging to lower classes from the college education (McDonough, 1997). In fact, the costs of college education becomes the barrier preventing students from low-income families from entering.
In addition, many specialists argue that racial gaps also widen depriving minority students of the possibility to obtain the college education (Freeman, 1997). In this regard, African Americans and other minority students are in a disadvantageous position. In spite of existing programs for minority students as well as for low-income students, they are ineffective and social and racial gaps persist.
In this regard, the high costs of tuition is one of the major factors that put students in an unequal position and prevent them from equal access to college education (Kaltenbaugh, John, & Starkey, 1999). In such a way, many students need the assistance from the part of the state and federal agencies to afford college education.
Finally, cultural differences also affect the availability of college education along with the high costs of college education (McDonough, 1998). Some students are not prepared to pay high costs for college education, even if they can afford it, because of their cultural traditions. However, cultural differences are probably the least significant compared to the high costs of college education and tuition. In addition, the high costs of living increase the costs of college education. In such a situation, a considerable part of students from low-income families is just left aside of college education.
In such a situation, many specialists () draw attention of the public to the problem of the negative effects of low educational level on the personal and professional development of people. What is more important, the lack of access to the college education because of the high costs of college education raises the problem of the growing social tension. At this point, it is important to understand that people with the higher education have better job opportunities. In addition, technologies keep progressing and education is essential to help people to keep pace with progressing technologies. As a result, in a long-run perspective, the society can be divided into two antagonistic groups: educated and non-educated people. Educated people will enjoy all benefits of using and developing new technologies, whereas non-educated people will suffer from the lack of access to new technologies and they will be marginalized in the highly technological society.
Proposal for Position
Obviously, the lack of access to college education for students from low-income families and from minorities is dangerous for the further development of the US society. Widening gaps between students and the lack of access to college education will lead to social and racial conflicts in the US society. In such a situation, the government should develop effective state and federal aid programs which can provide all students with equal opportunities to access the college education and to obtain their higher education to realize their full potential. On the other hand, the main problem is the effective use of public funds. In this respect, the community control can be an effective measure that provides students in need with better opportunities to obtain college education. In fact, local community members know better than state or federal authorities which students need aid and local communities should have an opportunity to use public funds to aid students in need. Therefore, public funds should be redistributed at the local level to provide students in need with essential financial aid to continue their education and to enter colleges.
Breneman, D., & Finney, J. (1997). “The changing landscape: Higher education finance in the 1990s.” In P. M. Callan & J. E. Finney (Eds.), Public and private financing of higher education. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.
The authors focus on funding of the higher education. The authors distinguish private and public sources of funding stressing that the public funding is not always effective and deprives many students of the possibility to obtain higher education.
Cabrera, A. F. (1994). “Logistic regression analysis in higher education: An applied perspective.” In J. C. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, 10, New York: Agathon.
The author explores the development of the higher education and its future prospects. The author arrives to the conclusion that education will shift to higher costs and wider use of information technologies.
Cabrera, A. F., Norn, A., & Castaneda, M. B. (1992). “The role of finances in the persistence process: A structural model.” Research in Higher Education, 33, 57 1-593.
The authors reveal existing models of funding of college education, uncovering persisting gaps between low-income students and students from upper-classes. The existing structure of the college education and its funding is ineffective and widens gaps between students.
Cabrera, A. F., Nora, A., & Castaneda, M. B. (1993). “College persistence: Structural equations modeling test of an integrated model of student retention.” Journal of Higher Education, 64, 123-139.
The authors attempt to elaborate an efficient model of the assessment of effectiveness of funding college education and costs of college education.
Freeman, K. (1997). “Increasing African Americans’ participation in higher education.” Journal of Higher Education, 68, 523-550.
The author focuses on the problem of the lack of access of African American students to college education. The author defines ways which can increase the share of African American students in college education and open college education for minorities.
Grubb, W. N. (1996). Working in the middle. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The author discusses the development of the modern higher education and education system at large. The author identifies numerous problems, among which high costs of higher education are among the most serious problems that put students in unequal position.
Heller, D. E. (1997). “Student price response in higher education: An update to Leslie and Brinkman.” Journal of Higher Education, 68, 624-659.
The author draws the audience’s attention to growing costs of higher education and forecasts that costs of college education will grow even more. In addition, the author discusses negative effects of high costs of college education.
Hossler, D., & Schmitt, J. (1995). “The Indiana postsecondary-encouragement experiment.” In E. P. St. John (Ed.), Rethinking tuition and student aid strategies. New Directions in Higher Education, 89, 27-39, San Francisco: Jossey Bass,
The authors explore efforts of the Indiana authorities to encourage college education. They evaluate critically state aid to needy students and suggest using Indiana experience in other states.
Kaltenbaugh, L. S., St. John, E. P., & Starkey, J. B. (1999). “What difference does tuition make? An analysis of ethnic differences in persistence.” Journal of Student Financial Aid, 29 (2), 21-31.
The authors of the article raise the problem of high costs of tuition, which becomes an unsurpassable barrier for many students on their way to college education.
McDonough, P. M. (1997). Choosing colleges: How social class and schools structure opportunity. Albany: SUNY Press.
The author explores the problem of the impact of social class of students on their education opportunities. The author stresses that students from low-income families have little opportunities to obtain higher education.
McDonough, P. M. (1998). “Structuring college opportunities: A cross-case analysis or organizational cultures, climates, and habiti.” In C. A. Torres & T. R. Mitchell (Eds.), Sociology of education: Emerging perspectives, 181-210, Albany: SUNY Press.
The author studies the impact of the cultural background on students’ performance in college revealing differences between different cultural groups.
Paulsen, M.B. & P. J. Edward. (2002). “Social Class and College Costs: Examining the Financial Nexus between College Choice and Persistence.” Journal of Higher Education, 73(2), 189-197.
The authors reveal the wide gap between students belonging to different social classes. The authors argue that social class is an important factor preventing students from or admitting to higher education.
Every year many young people work hard to pass their school-leaving exams and enter a college. However, for many of them acquiring good marks is not the only worry. Unlike the lucky minority from wealthy families, they must also think about the ways of getting money to pay for their education.
The government claims that free education is impossible, as there is no possibility to subsidize the universities and colleges with the budget funds. Moreover, when education is fully supported financially by the state, colleges lose their independence and the spirit of democracy and freedom. They also consider that students have a lot of opportunities to obtain the money they need. They can get a scholarship if they are really talented. They can work during their university years. Or they can also take a loan from a bank, which they will pay back after they have started working.
Despite the numerous possibilities, for many students the cost of the education is still too high. Scholarships are very unlikely to cover the total cost and students who manage to obtain one successfully still have to work to earn their living. Earning enough money to pay for your college education is next to impossible with a part-time job, while working full-time leaves students with no time to study, which means that the money is actually wasted. And a bank loan is so huge that students have to pay it back for many years.
To sum up, the cost of college is too high for many talented young people and this prevents them from getting higher education, which means our society actually loses potential professionals. I strongly believe that the state must take an active role in supporting education and if not make it free, provide enough money to reduce the cost at least by half.