When Education Is Too Costly To Bear…
Anyone who’s enrolled in an American university or anyone who’s helping their child through the process of paying for an education knows – college isn’t just an institution of learning anymore.
It’s a big business – and its customers are paying dearly.
According to educationdata.org, in 2019 alone, students racked up an estimated $1.3 Trillion in student loan debt.
Next year will likely be the same because every year the price of a college education goes up and up.
No one sees this increase more than international students.
You see, the lowest tuition rates are paid by students who are citizens of the nation and state their college is in.
Out of state students pay a considerable amount more.
And students who aren’t citizens of the state or the country pay the most.
We’re talking a difference of $25,290 for the average in-state tuition…
$40,940 for out of state tuition…
And as much as tens of thousands more for international students tuition.
That International Tuition Adds Up To A Lot
In 2019, international students contributed $41 Billion in total per NAFSA.org.
The bad news?
That number is shrinking from years prior, and it’s shrinking rapidly.
Over the last three years, international student enrollment was dropped again and again. This is an unprecedented event – and it’s costing U.S. colleges big time. According to CNN, this continued decline in enrollment has cost U.S. schools around $11.8 billion so far.
Students from countries like India, China, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia are opting out of U.S.schools, citing reasons like concerns over travel bans and a severe decrease in funding from their home countries’ international scholarships.
Where the U.S. used to be the prime destination for secondary education, many people are wondering – has it lost its appeal?
You may be asking yourself, why should I care?
Shouldn’t students be educated in their own home countries?
How does this even affect people in the U.S.?
I’ll tell you.
The Effect Is Twofold
One, without international students getting the world-class education the U.S. has come to be known for, the whole world suffers. If American schools are the gold standard, that means that the majority of non-U.S. schools are offering an education that’s not quite as good.
When the best and brightest aren’t getting the gold standard education, then we won’t see as many advances in science and other important fields worldwide. So this decline will cost us all in the form of missed future innovations.
And two, it will cost U.S. students, their parents, and the American taxpayer in the form of dollars, too.
You see, the price of college tuition is likely to continue its upward trend. Increased spending on additional staff, higher wages, and new programs will drive costs up every year.
With less tuition coming from international students, those bills will have to be paid somehow – either in the form of higher tuition for American students or in aid from federal and state governments (which ultimately means it’ll be funded by you, the taxpayer.)
The only other option is to cut costs down. While some administrative cuts might be made without too much fuss, other cuts would lead to less diverse programming and an even more diminished appeal to students – both local and international.
After all, why would students want to pay so much for something that slowly gets worse over time?
So it stands to reason that something will have to be done about this situation.
Should colleges be stripped down to more basic versions of themselves in order to cut costs?
This Isn’t An Entirely Bad Idea – To A Point
Students don’t really need a class in Recreational Tree Climbing (which is a real course offered at Cornell University) or a class on the philosophies of The Simpsons (again, a real class, only this time at Berkeley).
These classes are fun ways for students to learn, but they’re not necessarily useful for the real world after college.
On the other hand, though, if we keep chipping away at everything we deem to be frivolous, at some point, many classes and some majors will cease to exist.
Who will be the arbiter of what is and isn’t of value?
One man’s tree climbing is another man’s art history – there’s got to be a reasonable balance in how much we cut and how much we keep.
Another solution is for U.S. schools to actively recruit more international students.
Currently, the U.S. just waits for international students to apply.
Canada, Australia, and other countries already have recruitment processes in place. US schools could follow suit to attract a more international student body. This could bolster enrollment and help to boost the colleges’ coffers once again.
On a personal level, there’s not a lot we citizens can do about these changes. We can send our kids to schools with more reasonable tuition schedules in the hopes that costs won’t go up too much…
Or we could talk to our kids about different paths for the future. The military and entrepreneurship are still strong alternatives to the high price of a four year degree.
But again, in the long run, it’s likely we’ll all see changes if this trend continues.
All in all, international students pay a significant portion of what it costs to run a U.S. college. If American universities are going to continue to succeed, they’ll have to figure out how to win them back or what changes to make in their absence.
And those of us who would attend these schools – or send our children or grandchildren to them – will have to deal with the aftermath of those changes.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored