High cost of college

To the editor:

One recent major news issue involved the unethical, maybe illegal, extent which some wealthy parents would go just to get their children admitted to what might be considered elite private and public colleges and universities, to the detriment of some meritorious students.

Admission bribery aside, that got me to thinking what tuition and fees were back in the late 1950s. I cannot recall the exact amount but will say with great confidence that in four years at a state public college/university my tuition and fees totalled less than half the $9,500 average todays student might pay for just one year at a similar institution.

Even with help from grants, scholarships and their middle class parents, without student loans today’s tuition and fees is beyond the reach of many working students. Sixty-eight percent of 2015 BS degree graduates had a student loan debt of $30,000 — it might be greater now. I think that discourages many qualified young people who could benefit themselves and society in general from attending college.

The federal government spends $75 billion on higher education, not including the $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt much of which will not be fully repaid and fall back on taxpayers. State level funds also play a large role. Tuition-free college, i.e. tuition entirely funded by taxpayers, is not the answer considering the average household income is $60,000.

For the benefit of students and taxpayers we must find a way to stop the upward increase in college tuition, which has skyrocketed well above inflation!

Bob Jentges

North Mankato