Opening Statement of Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Republican Leader Committee on Education and Labor Hearing on “The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach”
This hearing cuts to the heart of why postsecondary education reform is necessary and why it is so difficult to accomplish. It’s necessary because college is so increasingly expensive. For decades, tuition and fees have risen higher than the cost of inflation. Because costs have always varied between different types of institutions, it’s often hard to know what option would provide the best value for the unique needs of each student and their families.
Here is a way to put the cost of college into perspective: if the price of cars had risen at the same rates tuition and fees have risen, the average car today would cost more than $80,000. The high cost of college is not a question for debate, it is a matter of fact.
That’s also why change is so difficult. High costs for all mean very, very high payouts for some. As a former college administrator, I know firsthand the complexity and the ripple-effects of budget decisions at the institutional level. Sometimes, it takes creativity and resourcefulness to manage an institution’s finances well. Sometimes, the easiest way to grow your budget is to use an old business mindset and pass costs along to the consumer. In this case, the consumers are students and families, and they are not willing to take the high costs anymore.