Two Cents: Scary higher education costs must be a policy focus

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In Two Cents, our columnists offer their brief takes on current issues. For this Halloween special edition, students discuss a particularly scary issue: the rising cost of education. Costs of college have been reaching new highs. Students are asked to make the decision as seniors in high school whether they should go to less prestigious, but more cost-effective schools, or chain themselves to paying student loans for years, or possibly decades to come.


 

Acclaimed by The Economist and Bloomberg, Marco Rubio’s plan would work through a fixed income percentage contract where, for a fixed period of years, you would pay a percent of your income to investors who front the costs of your college education. This investment in human value could unfortunately minimize incentive to go into fields like philosophy and the humanities. However, through this system, the burden of loss is placed on the investors instead of students in cases of bankruptcy. The best part is that such contracts may create pressure from powerful investors on colleges to actually reduce tuition costs.

Adam Kozloski is a sophomore majoring in economics, political science and computer science.

The cost of living in college is often overlooked because so much focus is placed on tuition. However, these costs can significantly contribute to total expenses. The difference in cost of living between the 25th percentile and the 75th percentile of colleges was $4,000–$5,000, according to a fall 2014 study from Wisconsin HOPE Lab. This means that if your school is in an expensive area, you could be paying an additional $5,000 a year, an amount comparable to tuition for community colleges and state schools. At Miami-Dade College, off-campus living expenses average $8,455, but for students living at home the average is $2,345, according to The Century Foundation. The differences in living cost between schools and even between living at home or off campus should be a focus, not just tuition.

Neydja Petithomme is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism.

The state and federal governments have historically helped pay for higher education in America, with the former carrying a heavier load until recently. Aid from the federal government focuses on financial aid to individuals whereas state aid goes directly to help cover operating costs of a university. After the recession, 47 states (minus lucky Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota) cut their higher education budget, and to this day states still haven’t been eager to increase their spending on it. Simply put, states should increase their aid to universities, otherwise schools will keep hiking up tuition costs just to keep the lights on.

Kevin Bustamante is a junior majoring in political science and creative writing.

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