Akers, Beth. “Four Reasons Why College Is So Expensive.” Manhattan Institute, 27 Aug. 2020, www.manhattan-institute.org/new-approach-curbing-college-tuition-inflation.
The report “A New Approach for Curbing College Tuition Inflation” by Beth Akers explains the growing price increase for higher education. The report goes over four main causes of tuition inflation; students may overestimate the value of a college degree, the difficulty of shopping for college due to the opaque system of pricing, geographical constraints and its implications on competition, and regulation that prevents more affordable business models from entering the market to compete with the pre-existing providers. According to the report, the prices for higher education have increased more in the last two decades than nearly every other sector of the economy. On average, a college graduate will earn $1 million more over their career compared to a high school graduate. The average price for full enrollment at a four-year college has increased by 50% beyond inflation in 2019. The average tuition cost was $36,880 which is an increase of $7,930 over the last decade and up $12,990 for the last two decades. Much of this cost is offset by increases in grant and scholarship aid at four-year nonprofit colleges, only coming out to around 3% on average above inflation. However, at public four-year colleges the cost increased 81% beyond inflation over the past decade because the costs are not offset by the same financial aid. The overwhelming majority of people that enroll in college do so because they want improved wages. In 2015, the Obama administration required every accredited college to report their graduate’s earnings. Four years later, the Trump administration improved it by requiring that every college also had to report median earnings by major. Many students do not realize that college can leave them worse off financially than where they started. College is an investment, and many believed that college was a golden ticket regardless of the field. Since many students believe that any degree is favorable, they will not care as much about the rising tuition cost. College tuition also suffers from not having a transparent pricing. Students may not know how much college will cost until they have applied and have been accepted. Another reason why higher education pricing is rising is because of oligopolistic competition. Around 3.5% of the U.S. adult population live in what is called an ‘education desert’, which means that no public college or university exists within 50 miles. This leads to oligopolistic competition which is defined as a market dominated by a small number of firms, in this instance, it would be colleges. The lack of competition can result in higher prices. Lastly, too much regulation has made it difficult for new colleges to emerge. Having a non-traditional college can make it difficult to become accredited. Without being accredited, a college will not have federal financial aid making it harder to be competitive. The author wrote this report based on factual evidence and statistics. The author also included potential solutions to all of the problems they identified. The author especially emphasized how many students think that college is a golden ticket. According to the report, “90% of students report improved earnings opportunities are the number-one reason they enroll in college.” This means that most students believe that the cost of college is worth it even if it is expensive because they will be earning more money later. Of course, this is not always true, it depends on which field the degree is in. This is an example of the author using logos because she uses a statistic. I believe the source was credible because of all the evidence and I agree with the author. She gives strong arguments and puts a lot of detail into explaining her position. I think the genre choice of a report is ideal because it allows the author to easily explain her arguments with facts.