Free Essay on Causes and Consequences of Rising Cost of Public Education in the United States

Published: 2023-03-26
Free Essay on Causes and Consequences of Rising Cost of Public Education in the United States
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Education Government Social issue Policy analysis
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1909 words
16 min read

Public education in the United States is as important as an investment. It has both social and economic benefits. Those who acquire quality education through primary, high school, and universities are able to be productive citizens with stable families and good employments. As one benefits from education, the whole community gets benefits from the same socially and economically. The educated are also less likely to commit crimes since they are conversant with the laws of the country. Investing in public education is far much more beneficial to a state than paying for social and economic consequences. Investment in the public is of great importance to the country. A more educated population has reduced unemployment on public assistance programs, more revenue due to the high rate of employment, and reduced dependence level. Education also has a major role to play in the reduction of crimes, improvement of health services, and greater civil and political engagement. Investment in public education results in billions of dollars of economic and social benefits. The paper will thus look at the causes of the rise in the cost of public education in the United States and its consequences.

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Causes of the Rise in Cost of Public Education

Laxity by the Government

Laxity of government to support the institution has resulted in the rise in the cost of public education. According to statistics from the United States between 2008 and 2018, most students have joined public universities and colleges. The payment in these institutions has raised drastically at a percentage of 50% from the original payments (Heller 1999). Most of the states in the last 24 years have shifted the funding to the students. In Louisiana, for example, the payment for the four years in public colleges and universities have been doubled since the 2008 school year.

In Alabama and Arizona, payment per student in public colleges and universities has been raised by more than 60%. In accordance to increment in the fees, this has made most of the families in a dilemma not knowing what else to do. The rise has also threatened the affordability of public education to most citizens (Heller 1999). Acquiring a college degree is equally important for better employment, which will, in turn, leads to greater wages. In a community with most students having degrees, it is beneficial to them since strong employers who pay higher wages will be attracted - having most residents getting employed and earning a good salary boost the area's economy.


Inflation has caused the government in most of the states to lower the payment offered to students in public institutions by 13% (Wyatt, Winters & Dubbert 2006). The government decided to do this in order to save the country's economy and to make it affordable to all the citizens in the country. As inflation can lead to rising in the cost of the goods and services in the country, the government tends to meet part of this production cost to at least reduce the prices imposed on common citizens on the product.

Inflation also accelerated the public institutions to raise their payment per student so as to ensure the normal running of the institution. As inflation pops up, the workers also complain about their salaries to be raised; the cost of services rendered to the institutions will also be raised by those offering, and all these will be summed up to the amount paid by each student, and hence a raise is built. Once the government curbs up inflation, the citizens are able to live a normal life where all can afford as the economy stabilizes.

Need for more Faculty Members and Money to Pay them

Just as education is a labor-intensive system, most people are employed to work in different fields under this system. Education is expensive since its outcome is enormous. The professors in all the public institutions need to be paid well to keep them motivated and will be able to offer their duties effectively. The sum amount to be paid to these workers is just from the student's payment in which will lead to higher costs. These can be civil servants, and most can say that its government responsibility to pay them, but most of the cost is really paid by the institutions they serve.

Increasing the cost of health and other benefits has also posed more expenses in these institutions (Wyatt, Winters & Dubbert 2006). Most of these non-instructional roles are essential in each institution to offer support to students apart from the key role, which is education. The non-teaching personnel offering these services plays a major role in most of the students' lives as they encounter some challenges in life. The kinds of stuff are always experienced and know well how to handle such cases and equip students with the knowledge to handle such cases in the outside world. All the expenses in these offices are met by students since here there is no government assistance hence makes it very expensive.

Consequences of Rising Cost of Public Education

Closure of Most Institutions

Most of the governmental institutions have been closed in the past years due to unaffordable cost charges on the students. Students have withdrawn in these institutions, which will definitely lead to the closure of these institutions. Most of the students can't take the loans offered by the government as they fear challenges, which will pose problems when repaying the loan. Poor maintenance of the institutions have also lead to the closure of the institutions. The amount of funds donated by the public is used only in basic needs like food leaving the institutions in a poor state that are not presentable or even hygienic.

The government needs to pump a lot of finance into these institutions before reopening them. The funds diverted into these institutions would have been used for other projects which would develop the country's economy. Closure of these institutions will lead to automatic unemployment to most people who worked and depended on income from the country. The teaching and non-teaching staff will lack jobs and now will remain at home making their lives and that of their families difficult.

Increase in Poverty Level

When the cost of public education rises, most of the citizens won't join the public institution. Illiteracy will later cause high dependence on those working, which will increase. Lack of education will lead to an increase in the level of poverty in the country due to low living standards experienced in the country (Holzer; Schanzenbach , Duncan & Ludwig 2007). Rising cost of public education can also lead to a rise in the economy of one's country, which makes it hard for most to meet their needs. Most citizens being unable to meet their basic needs places a country in a state of the high rate of poverty due to the unequal distribution of wealth and resources.

The country will also become dependent on other countries in the future. The country will lack literate citizens to produce most of the goods; hence the country has to import most of its goods. Importing will consume most of the countries budget and even make the country be a slave to its trading partners since they have to get assistance from those countries. Education is the strongest pillar in each country to raise its economy since diverse talents will be sharpened. Once more than 90% of citizens, the country becomes industrious as most entrepreneurs develop their businesses due to the availability of ready labor. Those employed will now be able to earn and live an improved living standard. Countries economy will now be able to be improved, reducing the poverty level.

Growing Privatization of Public Universities and Colleges

The states have encountered several problems funding the public institutions since the beginning of the 21st century. The problem encountered by the government has been relieved by some investors who decide to take this institution as their own and fund it. Most tycoons operate the institutions as business branches and try as hard as possible to keep it at a higher standard in terms of performance to attract more students. Most of the students will, therefore, not benefit much from the privatized institutions as they belong to individuals who make decisions on who to join and who is not supposed to join. For example, the University of California state system dropped by 37% from 1997 to 2004 (Hemelt, & Marcotte, 2011). The trend is nationwide as the government decreases funding on the high educational institutions the institution's management seeks funds from business people, and most of these universities and colleges make more profit.

Most of the employees who were initially working on these institutions before they were privatized will be fired. The new investors may come in with new teaching stuff to increase the performance of the institution. Once the institution is privatized, most of the students never finish their studies. Research shows that around fifty percent of the students are left hanging as the cost in the universities increases. Failure of these students to obtain their desired degrees and get employed to well-paying jobs discourages their parents. The parents sell most of the assets to pay for the student's fee, who might end up not completing as parents expected, and this will discourage parents.


In conclusion, there has been a great change in the public institutions in this 21st century. Even the curriculum have changed gradually in most countries. Each action taken has its own consequences, which are directly proportional to the choices we made. The causes the public institutions to increase their prices of education will be affected by the consequences of the same. For example, the government pays a little amount to the public institutions, and when the institutions raise payments, most of the problems befall the same government as they become bankrupt and the country's economy to deteriorate.

In my opinion, I prefer the government to provide loans to all students who join higher government institutions, as in some states. The loans should be fixed throughout to create confidence for the learners and be able to budget. Loans provided will also bring relief to most of the parents as the students proceeding for higher learning will be able to be dependent. The government should fix the loans on its annual budget so that it doesn't cause a create impact on a few people. The loans should be from the taxes imposed on the citizens, and the learners are not supposed to pay back these loans after their education. If the government passes the law that they must pay, then this will scare away the learners. The consequences of this act might be increasing in prices of some commodities to compensate for the revenue. The government not only in our states but even other states need to invest more in education as it has a direct impact on young people in a country who will take over the country to the next step.


Heller, D. E. (1999). The effects of tuition and state financial aid on public college enrollment. The Review of Higher Education, 23(1), 65-89.

Hemelt, S. W., & Marcotte, D. E. (2011). The impact of tuition increases on enrollment at public colleges and universities. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 33(4), 435-457.

Holzer, H., Schanzenbach, D. W., Duncan, G. J., & Ludwig, J. (2007). The economic costs of poverty in the United States: Subsequent effects of children growing up poor. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress.

Wyatt, S. B., Winters, K. P., & Dubbert, P. M. (2006). Overweight and obesity: prevalence, consequences, and cau...

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