Opinion #3: The Business of Education

 

With college tuition constantly on the rise and student loan debt consequently increasing, one is forced to ponder whether college is a worthwhile and what one is expected to get out of it. The main thought: do college still serve its students or do we (as students and later adults in society) solely serve the business that is modern education?

the-rise-of-undergraduate-tuition
Be wary of the ongoing rise of college tuition

I want anyone reading to understand that I’m not attempting to dissuade anyone from going to college or even persuade anyone to go to college. Rather, consider this more of a philosophical question around the topic. It wasn’t until late in my college career that I started to question the true purpose of college and whether all of the “resources” available to us as students are really worthwhile…or even necessary.

In particular, as I ventured around campus there would be something that would constantly catch my eye: the construction. Now, you might ask: “why’s the construction on campus so important”?

price-of-undergraduate-tuition
Each year, the cost of tuition seems to constantly creep up more and more. Perhaps this is to accommodate for the “luxuries” that campuses provide?

Well, to be honest, I see construction as a means of expansion. The purpose is not reconstruction—such as to fix something that was broken. Rather, it’s addition. That worries me. Hear me out for a second. Every year I’ve been in college, I’ve realized that there’s always been a construction project going on. Realistically speaking, there’s always several construction projects occurring simultaneously. And no, it’s not because of an extreme necessity to fix something or mend something that’s broken (at least from what I can tell).

To put it simply and bluntly, they’re renovating.

New facilities are built to advertise the campus to new students. Meanwhile, new dorms are constantly built and upgraded to accommodate these new students. Consequently, tuition goes up since the school now has new facilities and is in higher demand.

Someone’s gotta pay for all of these new luxuries. Might as well be you.

What happens next? Well, the apartments also increase their rent prices. Why? Well, to put it simply, there’s a demand. Students need places to stay and universities (at least some universities) don’t have enough dorm space to accommodate every student.

“But they can’t do that! How can we afford this?” I hear students make similar comments to that often. Here’s my answer: how do you afford tuition, food, and everything else? You have parents or some kind of failsafe. Now, I’m simplifying heavily. Sure, not everyone relies on their parents for everything. There are quite a few people that do use other services or means such as ROTC or scholarships, etc.

But, really, do apartments care?

At the end of the day, you’re probably relying on some combination of loans, parents, or another means to pay for everything that’s not directly working every day. As far as businesses are concerned, the who isn’t important. The money is.  Their goal is to make money. And not just some money. They want to make more money than they put out. When it comes down it, with such high demand, the needs of a single student that can’t pay is insignificant. You can always be replaced by another student that is willing/capable of paying.

high-buildings
As college campuses grow larger, apartments off campus are allowed to expand more. This could potentially lead to higher rent costs and tuition prices

Just do me a favor. Take a look around the surrounding neighborhood and your campus (specifically if you go to a big university). Is there construction? What are they building? If there is a construction project, my bet is that it’s a dorm, apartments, or new classroom buildings.

And this leads to my final issue. Do we really need more buildings on campus? Realistically, will the building enhance my learning experience? Is it constructed in a manner that is scientifically proven to be efficient (by modern standards)? Is there any new state of the art technology that will help my academic comprehension? Well, does it even look any different from the other cramped classrooms around campus? No? Then why do we need them?

There’s far more I could talk about but I don’t want to become too long-winded so I’ll conclude here. The goal isn’t to make colleges look bad or place blame. To sole goal is to invite you to think about your college campus and consider whether it’s helping you or taking advantage of you. I’m curious to hear other people’s opinion of this. As usual, thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you found this article interesting in any way, please feel free to share it via one of the social media icons on the side. I’d really appreciate it!


Photos: [Managing College Tuition Costs]