Commentary:  Why does college cost so much?
Demonstrators, joined by members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, march near Baruch College to protest proposed tuition increases at CUNY on November 28 in New York.
December 2nd, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Commentary: Why does college cost so much?

By Richard Vedder and Matthew Denhart, Special to CNN

Editor's note: Richard Vedder is distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of "Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much." Matthew Denhart is administrative director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity.

(CNN) - College costs too much, both for students and for society as a whole.

This year, according to the College Board, average published in-state tuition and fee plus room/board charges exceed $17,000 at four-year public institutions, a 6% increase from only one year earlier.

In 2009, spending by Americans for post-secondary education totaled $461 billion, an amount 42% greater than in 2000, after accounting for inflation. This $461 billion is the equivalent of 3.3% of total U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and an amount greater than the total GDP of countries such as Sweden, Norway and Portugal.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. beth

    I would say that state universities should begin financing their operations with their huge endowment funds, rather than have their hands out to state governments. This could significantly lower tuition costs.
    Additionally, the government should limit profiteering by these universities by capping the annual percent increase they impose.
    Regardless, this is class-warfare at its most obvious. Keep the poor people poor, and those who finance their education with loans will become slaves to enormous debt.

    December 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  2. Mario

    The cost is high in texas because all the taxpayer money is going to illegals and anchor babies. A legal citizen pays more tuition than illegals that hide their income. Its time to start boycotting all the business that hire illegals. Join the revolution. I already boycott my local McDonalds because all the employees speak spanish with the exception of the token at the register that speaks English. If they can't assimilate don't participate. Boycott, Boycott them all.

    December 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • beth

      Mario, tuition costs are tuition costs, no matter who you are. The discussion was not about financial aid, etc. It is about TUITION costs. There is no sliding scale here. If the cost is 350 per credit hour, that is the cost. The question is why is it so expensive?
      You are perpetuating a fallacy that tuition cost depends on who you are, which is utterly false. "Anchor babies" have nothing to do with this discussion.

      December 15, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  3. keaton

    First off the money it takes to make the campus in millions of dollers. I am sure the founders want to make there money worthwhyle. The cost of food and dorms and to pay for the proffesers is a high cost to.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  4. Mike Blackfire

    Yes, I agree that college is too expensive but it still is worth it. If I were to go to college then I would be mad for the price. I still want to learn.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  5. Jim Boone

    Because it takes a lot of money to run a collage and to get the replacement books. Second, most people go to collage to get a better education so people can charge more to get them to go to collage.

    December 5, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  6. msp

    For start, how much on average does room and board cost for an individual whether he/she is a student or not? How much does it cost per year to feed and house a single adult? $17,000 a year does not sound too far fetched to feed and house an adult for a whole year in addition to providing an post secondary education. An average car cost more than that.

    December 2, 2011 at 1:31 pm |