Back to $chool

Back to $chool

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By Peter Clarke

It’s that time of year where students return to school and to be honest, I’m still miffed at the costs associated with college. It impacted me 35 years ago when I first attended and it bothers me to this day as I watch my children and the offspring of others pay fee after fee just to attend. In order to boost society, education should be free, period. The only time you should pay is if you quit or flunk out as you have wasted the opportunity. This would help students to choose their major wisely.

Engineering school costs from one source are quoted as, “The yearly expenses associated with tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board can range anywhere from $13,000 to more than $60,000 depending on where you go to school.” That means an education could set you back a quarter mil after four years.

Scott Deuty

Like it or not, advanced education is a lucrative industry. The money is made from student attendance as well as on the backs of students. Graduate students are one of the highest forms of slave labor in this country. Tuition, fees, books; all are a continuous treadmill of costs that never subside. Then there are the other “fees” such as parking, activities, etc. The convenience of on-campus meals are offset by unreasonable prices as well as subpar food. A semester of consuming this often results in declining health and weight gain. Couple that with the stress and it’s no wonder why so many people get ill in modern society.

Although the internet has freed up education considerably in terms of access, it also creates more ways to charge students. Not only are they charged to access books, homework, and courses online, they are left with paying for the printing costs. So much for electronic media lowering costs and reducing paper usage.

Most of these fees are unnecessary. This is especially true at colleges with big name sports. Herein lies another method of taking advantage of students who sacrifice their bodies and risk injury so the school can claim bragging rights or enable attendance at one of the many prestigious bowls.

They say that the Carrier Dome sets the basketball attendance record before the season even starts due to season ticket sales. However, it’s also rumored that the school associated with that venue doesn’t disclose the income from the Carrier Dome. Throw in lucrative TV contracts like Ego Dame’s exclusive deal and you have a money making machine. I doubt the tarnished dome does either. Why would they? It would be justification for lower tuition. We can’t have that exist and greed too.

All of this income is not enough of course. Universities continuously beg for alumni contributions and industry contributions. Universities also make income off of patents that students and staff develop.

Today’s students are leaving college with a huge burden of loans to pay back. Many of these investments don’t match the income that will result. The greed of preying off the hopes of those who wish to improve their future is quite sickening. If we are to improve as a society, the model needs to transition in a manner where advanced education is available to all. As far as costs, I don’t believe this burden should be on the taxpayers. Instead, how about having the industries that benefit from educated workers pay the bill. See how much they squawk when a large percentage of their profits are taken by the government as taxes for education. It’s currently disproportionately high for the average American and getting higher all of the time. Why should the taxpayer also be stuck with paying to educate themselves or their children?

Let’s close the loopholes and advance our population’s education level instead of making a quick buck that results in the eventual degradation of society.


How Much Does Electrical Engineering School Cost?”

Scott Deuty is a power electronics consultant and technical author having spent much of his career writing technical documents and application notes.

This article first appeared on eeNews Europe’ sister site Planet Analog.

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