Rising tuition costs make it difficult for college students and their parents to maintain budgets they've set aside for college expenses. Increased costs often mean more school loans and greater out-of-pocket expenses. However, these rising costs also provide funds for colleges to make quality improvements and undergo building projects. Schools say they can also hire additional professional staff to meet students' administrative needs.
A Competitive Edge
Increased tuition costs allow colleges to stay competitive in the industry. Some schools use funds to improve technology, such as computers, technical equipment, Internet services and classroom visual aids. Others use the money to hire qualified, experienced teachers, instructors and support staff. Increased tuition costs help schools maintain their facilities, make repairs, build sports arenas, conduct research and upgrade classrooms and academic laboratories. According to Forbes, state-of-the-art facilities attract more students and give schools a competitive advantage.
Colleges say the benefits of rising tuition costs often outweigh the negatives; more money equals more programs and better campus security. According to David Hodge, president of Miami University in Ohio, some schools use the money to improve career centers or develop programs for students with physical, emotional or mental disabilities, as reported in U.S. News and World Report. They might install more ramps and elevators to aid handicapped students or add innovative technology to help deaf or blind students with academic coursework. Schools also use additional tuition funds to improve security systems, emergency notification systems and campus safety measures.
Increased tuition costs can lead to financial stress for students who have limited resources. Students often set their budgets based on current tuition expenses and aren't prepared for rising costs. They might not qualify for additional college loans or increased loan amounts to cover tuition increases. Many scholarships don't increase even when tuition costs go up. Students may need to apply for more financial aid, federal grants, school-issued grants and scholarships to cover rising costs.
Unexpected tuition costs might force some students to settle for undergraduate degrees even if they originally wanted to pursue advanced degrees. Others might take classes at community colleges rather than enroll in four-year bachelor degree programs. Increased costs will deter some students from completing their college coursework. They might have to work for several months or years to save up for rising tuition costs, delaying long-term, postgraduate career opportunities.