The lucrative business of higher education

Higher tuitions exclude prospective students and encourage many to go abroad

The+estimated+tuition+in+2014+for+undergraduate+students+attending+USC+was+%2423%2C781+per+semester%2C+not+including+fees+%28Photo+from+wikipedia.org%29.+
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The lucrative business of higher education

The estimated tuition in 2014 for undergraduate students attending USC was $23,781 per semester, not including fees (Photo from wikipedia.org).

The estimated tuition in 2014 for undergraduate students attending USC was $23,781 per semester, not including fees (Photo from wikipedia.org).

Pad Squad

The estimated tuition in 2014 for undergraduate students attending USC was $23,781 per semester, not including fees (Photo from wikipedia.org).

Pad Squad

Pad Squad

The estimated tuition in 2014 for undergraduate students attending USC was $23,781 per semester, not including fees (Photo from wikipedia.org).

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As thousands of seniors across the nation receive their acceptance letters from public and private universities, many families are faced with difficult financial decisions. As many are aware, college costs are skyrocketing, and it’s not just tuition anymore: There’s room and board. There are meal plans. There are textbooks. There are computer costs.

Throw in travel expenses venturing to snd from the school, and paying for college is becoming nearly as expensive as purchasing a home. In fact, the cost of an undergraduate education is 12 times higher than it was 35 years ago, according to Bloomberg News.

While the United States is lauded by many (i.e., other Americans) as being the greatest country in the world, the nation severely lags behind other developed nations in terms of the costs of its higher education. In European countries such as Germany, higher education is free for all citizens regardless of ethnicity or social rank.”

Four years at the least expensive state school costs about $80,000. However, the vast majority of students are applying to out-of-state schools which sport total costs of attendance upwards of $50,000 to $60,000 per year. The thought of paying more than $200,000 for a piece of paper makes any parent tremble, but those who have multiple children face a remarkable hurdle.

In an effort to quell these concerns, universities devote an enormous amount of time outlining the scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid available to prospective students. Jamie Moskowitz, my stepsister who graduated from USC last spring, received a scholarship of $12,000 her freshman year.

Without this generous aid, Moskowitz says she would not have been able to afford the lofty $65,000 cost of attendance. What she didn’t know, however, was that this scholarship would gradually decrease in value over the four years that she attended USC. She received $10,000 her sophomore year, $8,500 her junior year and a mere $7,000 her senior year. In retrospect, Moskowitz realizes that she didn’t read the fine print of her award letter, which outlined this decline.

While she could have been more attentive to detail, universities produce intentionally vague award letters to accepted students in order to convince them that they can afford to attend their school, even when that is not the case.

While the United States is lauded by many (i.e., other Americans) as being the greatest country in the world, the nation severely lags behind other developed nations in terms of the costs of its higher education. In European countries such as Germany, higher education is free for all citizens regardless of ethnicity or social rank.

In fact, the nation’s tuition ban applies to international students as well, which has already sparked a flood of foreign students into German universities such as the University of Munich and University of Berlin. While the tax rate for the United States and Germany are relatively similar, it is quite evident that the return on investment for German taxpayers far surpasses that of Americans.

With this knowledge, one question arises: If the tax rate in the United States is virtually the same as it is in Germany, why doesn’t the United States provide free higher education? There are a multitude of factors in play here, but the tragic truth is that the United States is more interested in spending money on defense and superfluous foreign engagements rather than educating the nation’s youth. If Congress chooses to ignore this issue, American students may soon be saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to the United States and “Hallo” to Germany.

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