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Reducing the costs of a college education

Updated on February 2, 2015

The costs of a college education is constantly on the increase but what is the real reason behind these increases and can they be reduced by changing the requirements to obtain degrees.

Each course a college student must take to earn his/her degree costs money. A basic education is needed to be a success in society but it is a matter of what education is required. Education is a critical segment of society in that it prepares the future leaders of tomorrow to enter society and be a productive addition.

Changing the structure of accomplishing a college education if it is deemed necessary could possibly lead the way to lower costs providing more opportunities for individuals. Colleges and universities should concentrate on what is absolutely necessary to earn a degree in any given field of study. Some colleges and universities in Texas are embarking on a philosophy which is establishing a precedent in the requirements to obtain a bachelor degree including the costs involved. This philosophy is spreading as colleges and universities have embraced to some extent this philosophy in Florida. Several colleges and universities have initiated $10,000 degree programs.

Another state which has initiated a unique concept to provide $10,000 degrees is a program established by California in September 2014. A pilot program which allows community colleges to offer 4 year degree programs has been initiated. Community colleges are typically more affordable than 4 year colleges and universities. The new California law allows 112 community colleges to confer bachelor degrees in fields not offered by the University of California and California State University systems. It is estimated that there is going to be a need for college educated individuals for businesses across the country and if the cost of getting a degree is not affordable than the number of individuals meeting this need will not be there.

Without going into specifics for the colleges and universities who have made the push to lower college education costs some of the decisions or aspects may raise some eyebrows. One is utilizing high schools to provide college credit for specific courses rather than requiring students to take the same classes in college. Granted there should be some guidelines which must be met but allowing students to earn college credit while in high school is a step in the right direction.

In one example a school offers the opportunity to earn an associate degree while in high school. If this does not affect the cost of obtaining a four year bachelor degree then I do not know what would.

In the beginning of this new philosophy the number of degrees offered in this environment were limited but have since expanded. In reviewing some of the information one of the methods being utilized is getting rid of courses which have no bearing on the degree being sought. We as individuals know from either going to college or knowing someone who has that some of the classes have no relationship to specific degrees which are the end goal.

Our education system as it is today is costly to say the least and students who are lucky enough to attend a college or university wind up with huge debt which must be repaid after graduation. Strapping college graduates with a debt that will take years to repay is something which needs to change and the philosophy of providing $10,000 degrees is an opening to creating affordable college education. While this philosophy is a pilot in some places it is a change in the opportunities it provides to those wanting to earn a college degree.

There are many fine colleges and universities along with community colleges which offer opportunities for a quality education for the leaders of tomorrow. The problem is not the quality of education these institutions offer but the costs. The concept of allowing community colleges to offer 4 year degree program should be embraced throughout the country. This would increase competition between community colleges and higher costs colleges and universities. Competition is always a good thing and if we as a country can change the path of increasing costs for a college education through the option identified earlier in this paragraph then we have made a difference.

Our education system as it is now is seeing a constant rise in costs. In some cases this may be warranted but in others it may not. The key principle for colleges and universities to understand is that courses have been made a part of various degree programs with no relationship to the degree itself. This should change. Each course a student must take increases the not only the costs of their education but their debt they will need to start repaying after graduation. We must do whatever it takes to reduce the costs of a college education but it should not be the use of government tax dollars. The current experiment with community colleges and high schools is a start. As with any new endeavor their will need to be changes in the structure and possibly the requirements but the changes need to have common sense within the proposed changes. Government should not be the one dictating changes it should be within the educational institutions by examining the positive and negatives of any program in place.


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