The Community College of Allegheny County trustees announce another tuition increase along with hikes in some fees. Out of state student’s tuition per credit was boosted by a third.
Justifying the third price rise in a row, the trustees pointed to the need to cover higher costs including employee compensation, utilities and other items purchased by the school. One of which of course is the huge jump in the cost of health insurance that will be coming soon. The school has already resorted to using more and more adjunct faculty who will not eligible for health insurance and are paid peanuts to begin with. But because of the expected increase in wages and benefits for those who are full time the use of adjuncts is not a complete offset.
How can colleges keep raising tuition and fees? Very simple. It’s is the fact that demand is so strong and so inelastic. First of all, government aid for students help sustain strong demand; second, society’s pressure on students regardless of aptitude and ability to get college degrees and regardless of whether the time and money expended to get a degree will ever any positive return on the investment, and the lack of skills acquired in 13 years of K-12 education that necessitates further schooling to qualify for even basic jobs beyond the completely menial.
The growing amount of remedial education offered to incoming students is testimony to the inadequate preparation a huge fraction of high school grads have received. Encouraging them to go to college despite their preparedness and aptitude and finding government aid for them contributes to the flow of incoming students who are sustaining college enrollment beyond economically justifiable levels and allowing colleges to continue increasing tuition and fees.