Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Off-Topic - US College Tuition Inflation

This comes from a feature called "Scary Chart of the Day", and it is.

Since 1978 (the first year that Tuition costs were tracked and published as a separate category by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics), the costs of College Tuition and Fees have increased almost 1200%.  That's almost twice the increase in Medical Costs, more than three times the rate of increase in Energy costs, and around four times the increase in Food costs.  What makes it worse is that the chart also shows that the curve became steeper around 2002-2003, which indicates that the rate of increase has increased.  Further, the curve remains fairly steady after that kink, which suggests that this increased rate of growth in College Tuition and Fees is a long-term phenomena, rather than a reaction to short-term events and factors (as the jagged Energy costs line reflects).

This should be of concern to Journalism Departments, particularly as starting salaries aren't increasing significantly over time, and certainly not keeping pace with the increasing costs of getting the degree.  In a purely economic market (which thankfully higher education isn't), this would mean declining demand and fewer majors.  And the very real possibility that at some point, the cost of getting a journalism degree would not be recoverable - that is, the degree isn't worth the cost of getting it.  Particularly since, in journalism and media industries, the degree isn't essential to the job.  Declining demand and majors is a real problem for departments and programs in higher education today - and in many programs can be a death knell foreshadowing closure.
  Now that's scary.

Source - Scary Chart of the Day: Tuition Inflation,  College Insurrection


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