By Bob Hildreth
A new survey shows that college presidents are at best oblivious about how expensive tuition has become or at worst disingenuous about it. In fact, 86 percent of presidents believe that increased attention to student debt has mistakenly led the public to think that college is less affordable than it is. In quite an elitist stance, most presidents believe that opinions about higher education are influenced by false or exaggerated impressions.
With the average salaries of a college president topping half a million, are they losing touch of what’s affordable? Because the story is quite simple and there is no misconception — college is increasingly expensive. The graph below represents the actual average NET price paid by students (not the sticker price). In all sectors of higher education, tuition has risen steadily even after accounting for discounts and financial aid.
Most college presidents also indicated that student debt was fostering less positive images of higher education. But shouldn’t it? It seems that college presidents are inconvenienced by students becoming better informed about the long-term implications of financing college with debt. After all, it is true that it’s harder to sell an informed consumer the promise of a life-changing college experience when they are aware of the struggles that await them post-graduation.
It is time to reform our higher education finance, it is time to curb tuitions and wean ourselves from debt-financed degrees. It is time for #Zerodebt college degrees.