In this post, I have decided to compare Clemson to other in-state public four year colleges based on the cost of in-state vs. out-of-state total cost of attendance.  Clemson has the second most expensive cost for in-state residents. It is the most expensive public four year college in the state for out-of-state students. Scholarships and other grants are available to help with this cost in some way, but what if students don’t know about them or for some reason don’t qualify for them, as is the case for some state-government-funded scholarships for in-state students only like Palmetto Fellows? Then, the problem still stands. Someone whose dream school is out of state might have to re-evaluate that dream based on cost. Even schools in the same state show a disparaging margin in terms of cost. In South Carolina, the difference between the most expensive and least expensive school for in-state students is $5293. For out of state students it is $13,896.

This is the link to the Clemson Fact-book that shows how many students come to the college from out of state and how many are in state. Clemson students are South Carolinian by a dramatic margin.  13,436 of the students enrolled here in 2014 are from this state. Why? You can play around with this if you want to by changing the filters. It’s very interesting!

Something else to consider is the availability of certain programs. There are some programs that are available only at certain universities, or there may be a stigma that one University’s program is better than another. These things shape the goal and dream-making process of students. That becomes a marketing tool for universities.

We discussed in class how universities are adopting a business model. With that shift, has the aim of education changed as well? Newfield states that this conception began to take hold in the 80s and 90s, and could still carry through to today.  He states that in education

 [s]tudents were to focus on developing the knowledge base for tomorrow’s jobs. If they were constantly having to pay more and more for their education, this was not necessarily bad: they were buying a private good that would arm them to create the higher incomes for themselves that would also benefit society as a whole. Their rising incomes would allow them to repay their rising tuition. And yet this vision of the university as a privatizable knowledge factory coincided with a decline in the vision of broadened access and egalitarian development that I tracked in Ivy and Industry. ( Newfield 9)

Please consider that quote while viewing the following short video.

Video: Is College Worth It?

Is cost prompting students to ask this question?  I think it is certainly part of it. Green does the math in this video based on the idea that college costs about $120,000 total.  This is comparable to what out-of-state students pay here at Clemson, and even in-state students as well. He explains that with a college degree, the money put in certainly appears to come back out.  But is this always the case; will it ever be? Still, the hurdle of the initial payment still makes itself mightily known.  Colleges shouldn’t just pump out well-educated, marketable humans, they should help to cultivate good citizens, and I think that is what John Green is saying here. College is a great opportunity that should be seized when it is presented; it is worth it. But that isn’t the problem we are seeing here, not entirely. How one person views education need for/personal practicality of college might be entirely different than how the person sitting directly next to them sees it, and that’s okay. Still, it is imperative that we look beyond the price tag and look at who is running the dealership. What social issues and personal histories drive us to form these conceptualizations of the place of university in our lives? Green shares his. What’s yours?

This post caused me to delve deeper into the make-up of my own university and I was genuinely surprised by what I found. I’m still processing all of this and continuing to learn more about the issue. But I think that this opening-of-the-eyes is exactly what we need to do. Our generation needs to be looking beyond buzzwords that create veils of opportunity. What else is this cost of education inhibiting, besides potential enrollment of out-of-state students? How does it impact in-state students as well? How do we compare on state-to-state and international levels? What social issues, such as classism or the tunnel vision of privilege, are being perpetuated, even if subconsciously, through this re-conceptualization of education and the cost of university? What are students sacrificing in the name of a number? Asking those questions and continuously searching for answers is the new goal of the modern college student. College is more than an academic education; it is a social one as well.