An amazing disconnect exists between the rapidly-escalating crisis of student debt, and the response by private Universities across the country. As more-and-more recent grads begin to speak out on the horrors student debt is having on their life, colleges nonchalantly increase fees seemingly every year. My own school, Tulane is at is again this year . I am able to compare this price gouging with my numerous friends already harboring debt.
College degrees are starting to matter less and less. A 4-year degree itself is still important, but where and how one received that piece of paper no longer holds the importance in hiring that it once did. Yes, a biology degree from Stanford is still pretty helpful. But when companies are tasked with picking their next hire, the English major from Syracuse doesn’t hold much rank over the History major from San-Diego State. That is because for the first time in decades, students are choosing schools they can afford over schools that offer more prestige.
The college system is slowly but surely pricing itself out of relevance. Ten years ago, there was a natural stigma attached to any student who dared attend a lower-tier college. Such graduates were perceived as lazy or incapable of cutting it at a “real” university. Now? Those students are seen as the smart ones. They’re the ones that value their future lives the most. How’s that for irony?
Private universities can and will continue this price gouging until it negatively affects their admission numbers. These universities know that for every student who can’t or won’t attend their school given the price that there are five more students looking to take his place. But this can’t, and won’t last forever.
For the past decade, parents who did not realize the economic hardships associated with student loans and inflated college prices have forced their children to attend the best school they could. Now, however, the first wave of students chained by student debt are hiring new graduates, and having kids of their own. It is those new parents and employers that will be able to shift our Nation’s perception that taking out loans for expensive Universities is worth the horrors it will lead to.