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Lowering College Tuition Costs

Big Picture

In many industries, a college degree is necessary for entry. But in recent years, the college tuition rate has skyrocketed to unstable levels. According to the Education Data Initiative, the average federal student loan debt balance measures $37,717. Many factors lead to the current tuition crisis including government meddling, a rise in educational demand and institutional greed. Here's what we can do to address this crisis. 

Operative Definitions

  1. Accreditation: A stamp of certification for the quality of the degree produced by the college/university.

  2. Apprenticeship: Someone who is in training for a trade.

  3. Vocational: Relating to an occupation or employment. 

Important Facts and Statistics

  1. The demand for a college degree skyrocketed after the 2008 financial crisis

  2. The median cost of tuition for a public university is $10,000 in-state, $27,000 out-of-state per year.

  3. The median cost for a private university is $38,000 per year.

Five-Point Plan

(1) Nationalize accreditation for post secondary institutions. 

The Department of Education (DOE) will need to take full control when it comes to accrediting post-secondary institutions. This way the DOE can ensure that accreditation standards are reasonable. Oftentimes, university administration will do whatever it takes to stay accredited, even if unreasonable accreditation standards call for unnecessary spending (contributing to higher tuition costs).

(2) Mandate that all donations go to subsidizing tuition. 

It has been reported that Harvard University receives $40 billion in donations annually. If they used the money they received from donations, they would be able to give every single student free tuition and still be able to operate. The Federal and State governments should mandate that any college that has any form of public funding make sure they use every donation they get for subsidizing tuition first, before using that money for any other purpose. If they refuse, all government funding will be cut off. 

(3) Expand alternate higher education routes.

Have a standardized test given to every student at the end of their junior year. This test will measure their writing ability, reading comprehension, critical thinking, logical reasoning and knowledge of social sciences, hard sciences, English and mathematics. This test will have a score range where there will be a recommendation on whether or not they should pursue a graduate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, associate’s degree, technical school, the military, etc. This way, students will know where their money and time after high school would be best utilized. 

(4) Add vocational programs to high schools.

We should also mandate that students take one trade elective of their choosing (e.g. woodshop, metalworking, culinary arts, etc.), so students can have some exposure to a trade that they may want to pursue instead of college. We will make taking one of these classes a graduation requirement so every student can receive exposure. 

(5) Implement universal internship/apprenticeship programs.

At a few schools in the country, there are programs where juniors and seniors can go to an internship as a full-year, pass/fail course. This should be expanded to every school in the nation. It provides a great opportunity for students to start resume building, but more importantly, it gives them a chance to start thinking of the career path they wish to take in the future.

Why This Initiative Is Important

The fact of the modern economy is that higher education is necessary for most people to achieve a prosperous life. For the vast majority of students, citizens will need a degree to succeed. With the above proposals, the hurdles to achieving success will dissipate without burdening the rest of society.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


Carnevale, Anthony P., Nicole Smith, and Jeff Strohl. "Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements Through 2020. Executive Summary." Georgetown Public Policy Institute, n.d.,

Cooper, Preston. "A New Study Investigates Why College Tuition Is So Expensive." Forbes, 31 Aug. 2020,

Moldoveanu, Mihnea, Kevin Frey, and Bob Moritz. "4 Ways to Bridge the Global Skills Gap." Harvard Business Review, 18 March 2022,


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