Should College Tuition Be Based on Major
Professor Johnson EC 111H 26 October 2012 The Problem with College Tuition Every year, students wishing to attend college are faced with the steep price that comes with their prospective education. For many, the belief that it will play dividends in the long run is enough reason to pay the high price. However, college majors have a wide variance of starting median salaries, which leads to the question of whether or not tuition should be based on your field of study.
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Students knowing they will be making less than another student after graduating should not be required to pay the same tuition. College tuition is too high. Since the demand for an education and the supply of schools are both high, cost should be low. What we see, however, are colleges taking advantages of what people see as necessary in todays society, a college degree, and raising the prices in awareness people will pay it no matter what. Keeping the same system we have today will not fix the amount people are paying.
Basing tuition off majors can change what universities are charging for the better. However, there is the question on what majors you raise. Many argue that the higher paying jobs should receive the increase, while others say the degrees in demand should stay the same or lower, while the other not as important majors deserve the raise. While the concept of basing tuition off majors sounds simple enough, it brings about a number of problems. The first and perhaps biggest problem is that the majors with a higher tuition receive would more funding.
This leads to better professors, more resources, and an overall better education. Engineering majors, for example, have the highest average starting salary according to TIME Magazine. If their tuition was increased because of the potential monetary benefit, than the university would have the obligation to focus more on that major than a social work major, who are paid the least on average. Not only could it impact the universities allocation of funds, it could also influence people’s decisions on why they are picking a certain major.
In the state of Florida, for example, they are trying to change the state’s public universities change to base tuition off of your major. Their belief is to keep the costs down of the majors that are important to the state. If the state needs more social workers or engineers, then those costs would stay low, while other “unnecessary” majors tuition is increased. Also, there is again an emphasis in the programs the state needs, meaning the funds of the college are going to the degrees high in demand.
If students only focus on what the state sees as important, it could cause a lack of students in other equally important majors. Some argue it is not fair to send a drama major deep into debt and leave an engineering major well of right out of school. However, if it will stimulate the economy and add more jobs, than you can argue putting an emphasis on higher demanded degrees is necessary. Since it is our own tax dollars that they are using at these public institutions, it is in our own interest to have students who will further our economy rather than be unemployed after graduation.
On the other hand, The University of Nebraska-Lincoln charges on based on starting exit salary. They charge an extra fifty dollars per credit in their business and engineering programs. They believe that since the programs are more demanding, take more resources to complete, and lead to higher salary If you look at the highest paid majors, you see it dominated by engineering and business degrees. A petroleum engineering major makes on average $98,000 out of college, while an economics degree could earn you $48,500, but $94,000 in the long run.
This is attractive to many students, who desire to be making high salaries. With the high salary comes hard work, and the hard work put in is worth more. Engineers, for example, require labs and experiments that cost large amounts of money. Doctors have to study in hospitals and take hand on classes that also consumes university budgets. On the other hand, English majors are focused more on their books, which are individually expensive, but don’t cost universities much money.
Universities should be obliged to allocate funds into the degrees that benefit them the most. They should not have to put as much money into a degree that does not make them money, as colleges are a business. There is no clear-cut choice on which way this system will work most effectively. It is obvious that both systems have their pros and cons. While one system favors government interest, the other favors university interests. Either way, people will be affective both positively and negatively. The way the state of Florida is approaching this looks stronger.
If students who are going to help out the economy are rewarded by lower tuition, they will be more inclined to do so. And the degrees will start to vary, because once the need for doctors is filled, a state could now realize there is a need for economists. Also, if students are aware of what degrees business are most looking for, than there will be a better chance of them being hired straight out of the completion of there degree. College tuition needs to change, and basing it on your major is a great way to start.