Cost of Living at College Doubled Since 1980


January 31, 2017
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Living the college life has gotten way more expensive since 1980, and not including just tuition and fees. While many types tuition freezes, government tuition-free programs, scholarships, and grants help foot the tuition bill, housing and food remain uncovered, according to MarketWatch.

Living the college life has gotten way more expensive since 1980, and not including just tuition and fees. While many types tuition freezes, government tuition-free programs, scholarships, and grants help foot the tuition bill, housing and food remain uncovered, according to MarketWatch.

Room and board charges have outpaced inflation, roughly doubling since 1980 and costing as much as it does to live in an off-campus apartment. Currently, public four-year colleges and universities charge about $9,798 a year for living costs.

One explanation as to why room and board costs have spiked is because colleges "reduced the amount they're subsidizing the cost of living for students" or because it's easier to hide room and board increases than the cost of tuition and fees.

It also costs more to run dorms and dining halls these days, especially when students are calling for more costly amenities. Likewise, colleges are "embracing lucrative deals with giant dining contractors, who offer commissions and signing bonuses to help pay for campus improvements and academic programs." Critics claim these costs get passed on to students and contribute to the expense of colleges.

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Sofia N.  on  3/4/2017 4:20:48 PM commented:

While forcing colleges to expose their true full tuitions which include room and board as well as amenities, I don't believe it would change the fact that college tuition has reached an absolute high. So much that in the last 10 years, college tuition has increased 3x over the cost of living and actual income, and college loan debt has surpassed that of credit card debt. The issue is not in the exposure of the facts but in the lack of realization that these institutions are forcing students/ parents to pay for amenities that probably won't even be used throughout their collegiate careers. University sponsors should be able to cover those expenses, it is the responsibility of the universities and their sponsors to know and manage their budget with responsibility and awareness to students and their limits. Though college loans are easily acceptable and manageable ways to study comfortably, these students graduate with higher loan debt than they can cover in 3-5 years while trying to find a job and live fully on their own. College graduates should look forward to working and enjoying their careers which the have laboriously studied for, not stressing and working 3-4 jobs while gaining experience for their majors to pay for their loans just to graduate and have more labor in to do. The amenities are not impertinent to their success as students, alumni, or the working class of the United States. They are not a reason for the working and driven youth to suffer for.

Anna L.  on  2/11/2017 6:12:52 AM commented:

I totally agree with Mikaela's response. They could probably streamline the entire website and booklets by providing pertinent information only.

Mikaela L  on  2/5/2017 11:51:58 PM commented:

I believe that there should be a bill passed that forces colleges to put all of their tuition, fees, and room/board on the home page of their website so students can know right off the bat if they will be able to afford the cost of living as well as tuition.

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