Have you ever noticed that when you go onto the website of just about any college or university, the hardest thing to find any real information about is the cost? They’re all excited to show you the gorgeous people who attend and all the fun they’re having. They’re dying to tell you about their great programs and extracurricular stuff. But when it comes time for you to get down to the nitty gritty of finding out just how much this is all going to cost, you have to jump through internet hoops to get to that stuff. Maybe it’s because they really don’t want you to know too too much about it until you’re hooked on all that fun in the sun and laughs in the classrooms you’re going to have with all those beautiful people?
I’m sorry to report that, yet again this year, Pennsylvania’s higher education institutions will raise the costs of tuition and fees, this time in excess of inflation. Though many of these institutions won’t say yet how much their rates will increase, the University of Pennsylvania has announced it will raise tuition, fees, and costs for room and board at a 3.9 percent increase over last year. That’s more than double the core rate of inflation, 1.6 percent. Penn’s new total costs will now be up to more than $61,000.
Haverford College in Philadelphia is another institution where the costs will rise by 3.9 percent, taking the total there to almost $62,000. They say this increase is necessary to “maintain the quality of our program.”
At a close second to these two is Bryn Mawr College, a women’s liberal arts college west of Philadelphia in Lower Merion Township. They’ll be raising their costs at a rate of 3.7 percent.
Fortunately, many of these institutions do say they are attempting to increase financial aid budgets in order to help needy students afford the higher price tag of a four-year education. Officials at University of Pennsylvania, for instance, will allot about $200 million next year to help offset the increase.
Being a perpetual college student myself, this is going to be a burden on me. And I’m not alone. Every student I’ve spoken with about these increases tells me they’ve been seriously reconsidering the value of a four-year college degree, when you weigh the number of jobs out there with these costs. In fact, two-degree programs are becoming more and more popular, as evidence is pouring in that many of these more specialized degrees, the ones that require less time in school and less money out of our pockets, can bring in a pretty impressive paycheck.
Rising tuition costs have long been a thorn in the side of Pennsylvanians, and it doesn’t look like there will be any relief anytime soon. Maybe all we have as a consolation is the fact that pretty much all of America is in the same boat?