The High and Increasing Cost of College

Being a student today, it is impossible to not think and worry about the price of attending college. Having that conversation with your family about what you can and cannot realistically afford becomes a tough conversation for almost everyone. Looking back at the price of college decades ago, one can clearly see the drastic increase in price. So why does college cost so much today? In The Landscape of the College Debate, Archibald notes, “We have argued that broad economic forces that are buffeting every industry are the primary driver of rapidly rising higher education costs. Changes in the economic environment combined with reasonable reactions by colleges and universities result in rapidly rising costs that have to be passed on in rapidly rising tuition and fees” (82-83). Changes in technology and in the higher education industry have caused economic growth to increase costs in colleges. Colleges also have been increasing costs and tuition in order to attract the best teachers and newest facilities in order to increase the overall quality of the school. Thus, Archibald writes, “Our analysis suggest that higher education decision makers are faced with choices that result in either rising costs or declining quality. If the decision makers do not offer competitive salaries, they will not be able to attract the best workforce…The fact that ever-increasing costs have resulted from the collective decisions of these agents suggests to us that the majority of these choices have come out on the side of trying to preserve or increase quality as opposed to the side of decreasing costs” (90). It is evident that colleges have to stay competitive and increase their own costs to stay at the competitive level and create an environment where students want to come to their college. College has increased so much in costs over the past few decades and judging by this uphill climb, it can be assumed college costs will continue to increase in years to come.


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