In a stark escalation, 14 colleges across Massachusetts have breached the $80,000 mark in combined tuition, fees, housing, meal plans, and additional expenses, signaling an alarming surge in the financial burden on students and families. This figure represents more than double the number recorded in the previous year, where six colleges surpassed this threshold.
The soaring costs of education have raised concerns, especially as some educational institutions are now exceeding the $80,000 milestone. While not all students pay the full cost due to financial aid and varying income-based policies, the significant increase remains a focal point of discussion.
It’s noteworthy that several universities, including prestigious institutions like Harvard and MIT, have policies in place to ensure affordability for students with lower family incomes. For instance, Harvard extends free education to students from families earning $85,000 or less, while MIT’s threshold is $140,000 or less.
Surprisingly, amidst this trend of rising costs, a handful of colleges are moving in the opposite direction by actively reducing their annual expenses. Notable examples include Gordon College in Wenham and Lasell University in Newton, demonstrating a commitment to easing the financial burden on students.
Recent polls indicate a growing sentiment among the public that questions the value proposition of a college degree against its exorbitant cost. A Wall Street Journal-NORC poll revealed that 56% of respondents considered a degree not worthwhile, in stark contrast to the 42% who deemed it worthwhile. This skepticism marks a significant shift from a decade ago when 53% expressed confidence in the value of a degree in a similar poll. A Gallup poll conducted in July further revealed a decline in public confidence in higher education, dropping to 36% from 57% in 2015.
As students and families grapple with the financial implications of pursuing higher education, the debate over the value of a college degree versus its escalating costs continues. The need for affordable and accessible education remains a pressing concern, urging institutions to reassess their pricing strategies and work towards ensuring inclusivity in higher education.