College costs predicted to soar

Here at the University of San Diego, we know what it’s like to shell out the big bucks for a quality education. Whether your parents are able to help pay for school or you are shouldering the costs of attending USD on your own, for most students, attending a private university is a privilege that does not go unappreciated. With USD’s sticker price hovering around $200,000, for a four-year degree not taking into account added expenses like books, meal plans, and rent, many families must rely on scholarships, financial aid, and sometimes student loans to make attending USD a reality.

However, based on future cost projections, that price tag will seem like a steal to the next generation. According to recent calculations done by Business Insider, the cost of attending a four-year private university could rise to about $500,000 in the next 18 years. That means that for most of our undergraduate student population, by the time they have children that are ready to go to college, the price of attending USD could be half a million dollars or more. Let that sink in.

It’s not just private universities that will be upping their costs either. According to the same predictions, attending a public university will likely cost close to $200,000 in 18 years. This means that for the average American family, which typically has two to three children, the cost of sending kids to a four year university could range from $400,000 to $1,500,000.

According to the U.S. Census, only 30.4 percent of Americans ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree. Considering the dramatic cost increases that are estimated to occur over the next 20 years, this number will most likely shrink to an even smaller portion of the country. Additionally, according to the New York Times, only 19 percent of these students graduate in four years, meaning most students would face even more tuition costs.

This begs the question whether   the benefits associated with attending a four year university justify the massive costs for future families.

Senior Caitlin Fogarty said she thinks that this price increase may cause education to revert back to its origins, when only the most wealthy could attend school.

“I absolutely see a benefit to a college education, or else I wouldn’t be paying so much [to attend USD,]” Fogarty said. “However, I think that if the cost of attending a university increases that dramatically, college will become so elitist that only a select portion of people will have the means to attend, which might result in the devaluing of a university education because so many people will find ways to work around it.”

Senior Gaby Mendoza agreed that the evaluated cost of attendance would offset the value of attending college.

“I think that education is very important,” Mendoza said. “I just think it is insane how expensive it is. The rising price of college makes it difficult for a lot of people to achieve higher education. I think that the benefits associated with attending college will not be worth the cost, even though it’s insane. Attending college is an investment for a job basically. It ‘assures’ us that we have a ‘stable’ future, so it is said. But there are students who get in debt and are not able to find a job. So, if this is a current issue with the current cost of college, it would only get worse with the rising cost.”

Hopefully policies change and make college more affordable and these predictions prove to be wrong. If not, our generation may be one of the last able to afford the rising cost of education.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor