Why is tuition rising so briskly at U.S. colleges and universities? It is rising faster than the rate of inflation, so we cannot blame that. So what is driving the tuition rate increase that’s taken hold of higher education since the early 2000’s? You might call it simple economics. Unlimited wants, limited resources. Colleges living beyond their means.

Yep, all these cliches apply when it comes to rising tuition and, ultimately, it’s the students and their families left holding the bill. Grants, loans, scholarships, savings, work, borrowing from loved ones-these have all been used to keep up with rising tuition. But at what point does rising tuition exhaust all avenues that students have for paying for college? At what point can normal folks no longer afford to go to college?

Our new infographic, “Why Tuition is Rising and How You Will Pay For It,” lays out the situation. Give it a look and share it:


Infographic Transcript

1. Limited Funds/Unlimited Wants
According to studies, tuition increases start with parents, alumni, rankings, and government putting pressure on colleges to do and build more. To pay for this, schools must increase revenue. Factors include:
A “winner-take-all” culture
Slowness of college bureaucracies to control costs
Powerful alumni pushing for more facilities, despite the costs of doing so
College rankings
Government refusing to raise the amount they give students for grants or loans
Schools having to provide more of their own scholarships

2. Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Colleges find that revenue by increasing student tuition. But the demands of parents, alumni, government, and rankings don’t stop after one year. Every year, these demands increase and colleges are forced to go back to their students to cover the cost. The result: numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics show an alarmingly steep increase in average tuition at all institutions (in current dollars) year over year.
2003 – $12,014
2005 – $13,793
2007 – $15,483
2009 – $17,092
2011 – $18,497

3. All Hands on Deck
These rising costs are more than parents or students can handle on their own. According to a recent study by Sallie Mae, students and parents must pull out all the stops to keep up with college costs. This means saving, working, grabbing up grants and loans, and even hitting up friends and family. The big question: will parents and students be able to keep up at this rate?

Designed by: Marcus Varner
Copyright © One On One Marketing 2013 – all rights reserved
“Tuition Rising: Why College Costs So Much,” Ronald Ehrenberg, Cornell University.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011 (NCES 2012-001), Chapter 3.
“How America Pays for College 2012,” Sallie Mae, Ipsos, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *