Amid a growing dissatisfaction over the rising costs of college education across the US, several universities and colleges have announced plans to lower education expenses. Most of those institutions aim to offer four-year undergraduate programs for just $10,000.
Ten Texas universities and colleges have announced plans to lower the costs of their undergraduate degrees to $10,000. The educational institutions have collectively launched a project called ‘10K-BA,’ which aims to minimize expenses to make college education more affordable to students.
The initiative is seen as a response to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s call to make tertiary programs cheaper. In 2011, the governor challenged all colleges and universities in the state to develop undergraduate degrees that could be earned for just $10,000. Back then, the average costs for tuition and other fees stood at $27,000.
The challenge was received with skepticism. Professors and other people from the academe thought it would be unrealistic to lower college education costs. Most of them believed it would be impossible to do so without compromising quality of education. Those hesitations are now set aside.
Other states follow
The call to more affordable college education echoed in many other states. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has recently announced that all state colleges (23 of those) in the state’s public education system have already committed to develop cheaper undergraduate degree programs. He asked those universities and colleges last year to take his $10,000 college degree challenge.
The aim is to help students earn degrees and skills so they could contribute to the economic growth of Florida. Governor Scott was quoted as saying that his administration wants to help college students avoid the need to take debts just to finish schooling. Not surprisingly, similar efforts are now underway in California, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.
Revolution in college education
In a media interview, Thomas Lindsay, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Higher Education said the college education system in the country is in a revolution. He said lowering costs could be a direct response to rising dissatisfaction towards higher education. According to the US Department of Education, a typical four-year degree program now costs $30,804, excluding expenses for textbooks, meals, and boarding.
In a 2011 poll by the Pew Research Center, 57% of respondents think that colleges are short of providing students with a better value for their expenses. Another 75% of the respondents think college has become too expensive these days. According to some experts’ analysis, average college tuition fees have jumped to about 440% across the US in the past 25 years. Worse, many college graduates fail to find appropriate and high-paying jobs after finishing school.
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