Consistent rise in tuition fees fosters discussion on the affordability and value of college degrees

By: Ana Gabriela García

A report by the College Board, published earlier this semester on Oct. 24, announced that tuition and fees increased at Colleges and Universities across the nation by less than 2 percent between 2016-17 and 2017-18.

For non-profit four-year academic institutions, the increase in tuition fees was 1.9 percent. In dollars, the increase averaged $34,740 in 2017-18, after adjusting for inflation. Elon’s tuition fees are $34,273.

Elon’s tuition, along with that of other four-year institutions, has been rising consistently for six straight years, the report states.

“I get that all colleges and Universities have to increase tuition, but I think it’s sad to the people applying here that it limits them,” said Diego Pineda, an Elon junior.

Sourced: The Rice Thresher

Greg Zaiser, the vice president for enrollment at Elon University, believes that by maintaining a lower cost, Elon is accessible to a larger number of student applicants.

“Elon is working to keep cost increases at a minimum,” Zaiser said. “Our total cost is often $10,000 less than schools to which our students also apply.”

Many students believe that another factor that limits future applicants of less economic resources is the amount of financial aid and scholarships offered at the university.

“I don’t think the rising tuition impacts as much the students that it (Elon) attracts,” said Stef Milovic, a student at Elon University. “The availability of scholarships is more important in bringing a diverse socio-economic group of applicants.”

“One of the biggest things I think they should change is the amount of money the give for scholarships,” said Sophie Eng, an Elon student.

In fact, Sophie says she has experienced first-hand the effects that a good scholarship can offer students. Even though her brother’s tuition was more than half of Elon’s, the scholarship package given to her brother cut his tuition cost in half, ultimately making it the same as that of Elon’s.

From left to right: Sophie Eng, and Diego Pineda. Discussing Elon’s tuition and fees.

The increase has cumulated in a national debate on the affordability of higher education and the “return of investment” that college education offers undergraduate students. Although many people question the “return of investment” of a college education, many Elon students do not.

“I do think college is a good return on investment. This day and age it’s very difficult to find a job without a college degree,” says Grace Morris, a sophomore at Elon.

Morris believes the education that she receives at Eon’s Communications school is what makes her degree a definite return on investment.

“Especially at a school like Elon, where the Communications program is incredible, I feel like my degree is worth something even though it costs a lot.”

Milovic agreed with Morris on the value of her Elon degree, and also believes that the value of a degree is based, really, on what type of higher Ed institution a student goes to.

“Yes, I do think it is a sound return on my investment. For Elon, especially. They not only build an inclusive community, but even offer ample networking an professional opportunities that lead to future careers.”

Tuition at higher education not only impacts current, enrolled students, but also future applicants, as it continues to be an important deciding factor for future students looking at various four-year institutions.

“When I made a college decision it was based on money at the end of the day, because Elon gave me more money than other colleges I applied to,” says Pineada.

“My brother went to a more expensive school in New York, so that was a big deciding factor—my dad was really excited about that because it was half the tuition of my brother’s school,” said Eng.

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