Economy Education Featured Blog: Is higher education worth the money? By Rihanna Patel Posted on March 29, 2016 7 min read 1 0 57 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Photo courtesy of barnyz via Flickr Many have discussed why higher education has become such an unattainable goal for many young people in American society. Why is it so difficult for young people to get the education they want and deserve? Many countries across the globe work in different ways in how they approach higher education. People in the U.S. have one main goal, and that is for American higher education to be both accessible to every young person and affordable so that people aren’t left in thousands of dollars in debt. But for this to be even slightly achievable, American colleges and universities must rethink how they approach education. Currently, College Data reports that a “moderate college budget” for an in-state public college in the 2015-16 academic year averaged $24,061 and a private college averaged $47,831. But many forget that this includes living accommodation costs compared to many other countries that don’t include this. This price for these accommodation costs has to be paid upfront in the United States. There is no loaning from the government and repayment system that other countries offer, so having to do this leaves many unable to afford a college degree at all. Some say that the elitist ideal of a college education has thwarted any chance of any working class students getting a chance at a top education. But others have argued that this is untrue, when put in perspective a Harvard education is more affordable than an Oxford education. Harvard students with a £10,000 (about $14,259 U.S. dollars) a year household income would be given help by the university through work-study programs and scholarships. As a result, they would only have to pay an estimated £865 (about $1,232) compared to Oxford students who accrue debts of £3,500 (about $4,985) a year with potential interest. This gives some low-income students the ability get a top education. Colleges in the UK consists of a £9,000 tuition fee on average, but this doesn’t include accommodation or living costs. The costs for students accumulates and many of them open student accounts using a bank overdraft, which can put students in more debt than expected in the first place. The tuition fees are paid back in tax when the graduate receives a job, and many don’t end up getting it paid off as the total sum usually amounts to £40,000 – £50,000. Essentially, many UK students can be paying just as much as many American students in total. Accommodation costs are becoming more and more expensive and students are paying nearly £6,000 per year in private accommodation. This only contributes more to the excessive amounts of money needed to achieve a top tier education. Many countries in Europe have thrown themselves into achieving a high standard of education for all their students. Scandinavian countries like Denmark and Sweden provide free tuition to their students and any other European Union countries, and Norway gives free tuition no matter what the nationality. Recently, Asian countries have been throwing money and resources into higher education because they understand the need for a highly educated populous. The British government adopted a more market-based approach in its 2012 reform which proposed reforms ranging from administration, fees and quality assurance. This demonstrated a clear financial incentive and only showed how the British government was trying to put emphasis on labour market gaps and focus on youth employment after graduation. Tuition fees in the U.S. have raised by an average of 250 percent in the last three decades, and President Obama had a plan when he came to office to tackle this and to reach affordability. The Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act of 2015 was established to make the cost of higher education more affordable and to make education more customizable for students so they can transition into today’s economy more efficiently. But really the big question is, is it worth the price we pay? College education has always been the key to successful living for the future. The price we pay has increased by thousands and young people are questioning if the benefits outweigh the costs. Is a college degree worth the money we pay? And are we truly better off with a degree to pursue a better career?