Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Hourly Cost of College

Many people are thinking about the fact that college is getting increasingly expensive. According to the College Board, the average tuition at a public four-year college is $7,605, or $3,802.50 per semester. Presuming the student is taking 12 credit hours per semester, or four courses worth three credits each, that means that each course costs approximately $950. If the course meets three times a week, that means with a total of 42 class meetings, each meeting costs $22.62. College costs nearly $23 an hour, and that's not including textbooks, room and board, or any other additional costs.

For $23, the average class meeting doesn't cover much ground. A student studying the books at home could probably cover more ground during that hour than would be covered if he spent it in a classroom.This option also saves the transportation costs, and the student doesn't have to learn at a set time. It's often possible to find a suitable self-study book for less than $23, or even for free if you use library books. If you miss a class meeting on a college campus, that $23 is gone with nothing to show for it.

The colleges must be taking in a tremendous amount of money. If a class contains 30 students, the university has taken in $690 brutto for only one hour. A class in a large lecture hall with 100 students takes in $2300 for that same hour. Now imagine this occuring simultaneously in many classrooms campus-wide, all day, five days a week, all semester. Admittedly, the colleges do have the expenses of professors, staff, maintenance, etc., but a lot of the money which the schools take in these days is spent on non-essentials like huge sports stadiums, climbing walls, and other resort-style trappings. They charge a lot of money for things which you can mostly learn at home by yourself from books and the internet. Is doing college the old-fashioned way really worth it?

Truth in Higher Education

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