College Tuition : A Common Belief Essay

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It is a common belief in today’s culture that a college degree is the key to financial freedom and prosperity, regardless of cost. But with the average price of tuition rising a staggering 440 percent over the past 25 years, more than four times the inflation rate, the question must be asked, is the college investment overvalued (O 'Shaughnessy)? As college tuition increases so does the amount that students are borrowing. The combination of ever-increasing tuition, growing student debt (rising from $53 billion in 2001 to $120 billion in 2012), and the devaluation of a college degree points towards the formation of a higher education bubble (Lucca 3). By first making the case for bubble like attributes by comparing it’s aspects to those to qualities of bubbles in the past, this paper will specifically focus on the availability of wealth driven by absence of lending standards and the overall increased funding of an education through borrowing in the current higher education market.
The Case for a Bubble
It is widely debated as to whether or not higher education can be classified as a bubble, so in in order to provide concrete reasoning, several characteristics will be identified that point to the formation of a bubble. These aspects are common themes of bubbles that have been studied previously. First, American society perpetuates the ideal that a college education is worth the cost regardless of college tuition or ability to pay back loans. A college education is synonymous…

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