In addition to reading books, I learn from conversations with people. Recently, a passenger in my car said "In this wealthy country, college should be FREE" I wholeheartedly understand their viewpoint but CHOICE is what makes this country, a wealthy country.
Lets just look at 1 simple product BREAD. http://www.lifeintheusa.com/food/bread.htm#:~:text=The%20modern%20American%20supermarket%20may,variations%20that%20are%20largely%20 wrote "The modern American supermarket may offer fifty or more types of sliced bread: white, country white, low-carbohydrate, fat-free, seven grain, whole wheat, cracked wheat, multigrain, potato bread, rye, country rye, and any number of evocative variations that are largely similar." The economic model of this wealthy country says a person can practically produce ANYTHING. If the product fails or SUCCEEDS in the marketplace, so be it.
The same holds true of colleges. U.S. News and world report wrote "There were 4,298 degree-granting postsecondary institutions in the U.S. as of the 2017-2018 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics." At the end of the day, when we take away the beautiful landscaping and theories on education, we uncover the truth. Colleges are BUSINESSES. I must say, the marketing of the college engine is outstanding. Students sign a 4 year contract to an institution without knowing the actual price and the price is allowed to increase, every year, during those 4 years. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/04/the-business-of-college-marketing/522399/ wrote "With students applying to more schools than ever before—more than one-third now apply to at least seven schools—many seniors are likely weighing multiple offers as well as competing financial-aid packages. As a result, colleges put on a full-court press in these final weeks before the traditional May 1 decision day, hoping a personalized email, a phone call, or a visit to campus with other admitted students will be enough to assure a deposit for the freshman class. But securing that commitment is becoming more difficult by the year for admissions offices nationwide. Yield rates—the number of admitted students who actually attend—have been in a free fall at all but the most elite institutions in recent years. Compounding the low yield rates are stagnant retention rates among first-year students and colleges’ over reliance on tuition dollars as a main source of revenue.
The endless pursuit of students has upended the traditional admissions calendar into a year-round endeavor where both sides try to infer the intentions of the other. What’s more, the increased marketing by colleges doesn’t necessarily mean students make better decisions about which college is best for them, said Nicole Hurd, the founder and chief executive officer of the College Advising Corps, which places recent college graduates in high schools to work as college advisers." It is the misalignment of EMOTIONS in financial decisions that make college a disaster. I know from attending college myself and watching the SAME disaster get played out with my own child.
Did you know , there are ACTUALLY free colleges in the United States? https://theconversation.com/what-happens-when-community-college-is-made-free-129116 writes "For the vast majority of low-income students, community college is already effectively tuition-free. Many students qualify for the maximum annual Pell Grant award, which is currently US $6,195. Even in a high-cost state like New Hampshire – where I live – this would almost cover full-time tuition and fees. In many other states, the Pell Grant is actually greater than the cost of tuition and fees at community colleges.
The College Board estimates that across the U.S. the average sticker price for full-time public two-year college tuition and fees is $3,730. The average net price – that is, what students pay after they get grant and scholarship aid – is negative $430. In other words, students receive the extra amount to pay for books or living expenses.
The draw for many would be college students is not even going to class. The draw is moving away from home. U.S. News and world report, https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/paying-for-college/slideshows/tuition-free-colleges?slide=2, wrote about tuition free colleges like The Apprentice School provides students with classes and full-time employment in various shipbuilding trades, Barclay College (KS), Berea College (KY), College of the Ozarks (MO), Deep Springs College (CA), Webb Institute (NY), Williamson College of the Trades (PA) and the military academies.
What stops students from finding effective ways to go to college affordably is the misinformation, the mountain of paperwork and the exceedingly high costs of transferring schools. Back in the good old days, I paid the high price of transferring after my college decided to raise tuition by 30% in my 2nd year. Tune in next week as I look at solutions for government to lower the price wall to the middle class through college debt and help parents find affordable alternative pricing models for the college solution so that more students recognize the costs of college BEFORE drowning in DEBT (like me).