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Access to higher education is a key concern for a significant portion of the American population. An estimated 3600 public and private institutions provide individuals with a variety of skills in both liberal arts and applied areas. Although the attainment of college education is an objective for most students, its high cost imposes a financial burden on families and the society. An analysis of reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates an estimated double increase in the cost of college tuition since 1980 on an inflation-adjusted basis (Vedder 3). Evidence shows that the need by institutions to maximize their value is responsible for the high cost of college education. In this regard, administrators require funds to acquire resources and promote activities and establish research facilities that will enhance the operations of an institution (Ehrenberg 11). Shortfalls in budgetary allocations for institutions lead to increased fees, which make up for deficits. Economic phenomenon such as inflation and recession are also responsible for increased college fees as institutions suffer diminished state appropriation, decline in contributions from donors and low revenue from investments (Hall et al. 31)
Research shows that there has been a significant qualitative improvement in higher education over the past decade. Students have better physical facilities such as computer laboratories that allow them to work in comfort and foster productivity (Smart 405). Expensive research facilities in institutions such as MIT, Duke and Johns Hopkins have been central in maintain the splendid performance of students enrolled in these institutions. A comparison of the performance of students enrolled in expensive private institutions and those attending less costly colleges show that expensive private institutions devote a significant percentage of resources to the education of students (Bowen 32). In essence, the value of educational nourishment that students in costly private institutions receive is greater than the fees charged. This illustrates that spending in college education is viable investment that students and the society should embrace (Gwartney et al. 29).