Lessen school debt, reduce online education cost

Kian Hagerman
Mesa Legend

photo Kian HagermanThe cost of education is steadily increasing, when the constant progression of technology should mean greater efficiency, and lower costs. Education debt is quickly becoming the premier debt of the nation, rapidly surpassing other forms. In a limited capacity online education options have democratized learning, though there is a massive divide between what a university offers for free, and what it will offer that will further the pursuit of a degree. There are now a number of websites that offer free classes online, often with an option to receive some sort of verification from the university that you completed their class for a nominal fee.

Certificates that bear the logo of a university are not a replacement for credits towards a degree, even if the class taken online are taught by the same instructor that teaches it on campus, and has little or no substantive differences. How is it that in 2016 a university can afford to offer classes, for a small fraction of the cost, and yet can still justify asking for thousands of dollars for what is essentially the exact same experience? Clearly, there is an element of greed at play, if one can pay $30 for something that is also sold for $10,000. If the difference is that one is offered on campus while the other is online, then it would seem that a movement towards streamlining the process to save on costs should be ideal.

This does not seem to be the case however; universities also offer online classes using proprietary means, and if there is any reduction of price for students who take the online version rather than in-person it isn’t enough. The verbal gymnastics that schools go through, to not “increase tuition costs” while still raising the overall costs of an education gotten through them would be laughable if they weren’t so transparent. If the quality of the education received improves enough to warrant a price hike, and the cost to the school does not decrease, so be it.

Students seeking to improve their positions in life, and pursue a career using the means at their disposal that society currently accepts should not suffer or be barred from doing so by those that wish to add more zeros to an exorbitant salary.  Educating others is a noble pursuit; the corporate culture, cracking the whip in the endless drive for more profit, should be kept in check by this higher calling. Sadly, it seems that even with clear indications that students could (and should) pay less than they are currently, the trend towards ballooning student debt will remain unabated if left unchallenged.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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