High schools should stress costs of college

What they don’t tell you when you’re choosing a college.

There was another increase in tuition this year, and while this number is being praised for being the smallest in recent years, the fact that tuition continues to increase is an embarrassing sign of progress. As tuition costs for schools across the nation continue to increase, high schools should stress the costs of different colleges to students trying to plan their educational futures.

Most high schools guide students toward particular higher education institutions because of their location, what programs they offer and the environment they provide. What often is left unspoken is the enormous variance in different tuition costs. From community colleges to Ivy League schools, tuition, fees and living costs change for each individual student depending on high school grades, residency and how much financial aid and what kind they will receive.

Tuition costs at the University have doubled over the past decade, and tuition itself will cost the average student almost $10,000 each year. Money needed for college increases as other factors related to student life are calculated, whether it’s room and board, food, textbooks or school supplies. One major defense for tuition increases is the claim that tuition costs reflect the rate of inflation. This excuse would fly had these increases not exceeded inflation.

Many students are forced to work in order to meet livability demands, but the cost of higher education still leaves most college students in deep debt that takes decades to pay off. Making the best choice in schools has become just as dependent on cost as the programs offered at a particular school. If one graduates with $60,000 of debt and gets an entry-level position, it is likely they will spend at least a decade or two paying it off.

The Minnesota budget for education is lacking, and students will continue to pick up the costs of increasing tuition. What we can do is provide our high school students the tools they need to make a financially sound decision when choosing whether college is right for them, and if so, which one.