In the US, the cost of higher education has skyrocketed over the past several decades. When I went to college in the late 1980’s, my tuition and fees were in the $1,000 range per semester. Today, that number has grown fivefold to nearly $5,000 per 18 hour semester, which is the normal load I took.
According to tuition in fees of $1,000 should be around $1,900 today if these costs kept pace with inflation. The rapid rise of college costs, far above inflation are more insidious because real wages have barely budged during that period
With wage growth around 1.6% for college graduates and inflation running at around 2.5% during that period, why have the costs of education increased by around 400%? The answer isn’t that the education is better. I received an excellent education for 2 of my 3 degrees from the University of Memphis. You can easily see the problem when you drive around the campus.
When I was a student there, the campus was filled with buildings that were built from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. You go through the campus today and MASSIVE building has taken place. The dorms that were there that looked like they could double for Army barracks have been blown up and replaced by posh living facilities. The old cinder block classrooms have been replaced by cutting edge, technologically hip, interactive learning spaces. Student centers are lavishly appointed areas that make you forget that this is a college and there are plans for more
The problem is when you have a massive student activity center that adds nothing to the education of the individual and poshly appointed common and living areas that do nothing to help prepare you for the working world, your costs and fees have to cover the ambitious expansion into a country club that fits in between high school and a career.
The article at the next link will explain how growing additions to the budget caused the dream of this new activity center at Memphis to be put on hold while they collect more money from fees to help fund the construction.
You might ask, what does this have to do with your Treadmill Doctor business? The answer is this affects almost every business. Since students have seen debt levels grow in the past 25 years an AVERAGE of over 160% according to the Huffington Post, these graduates don’t have the money to buy a house and furnish it and fitness equipment sales are hurt by this fact. Additionally since parents guarantee these loans, their ability to spend on their health by purchasing fitness equipment is hurt too.
What should we do about it? First, college is not meant to be a place for you to have all of your dreams met. When I went, it was supposed to expand your mind and prepare you to go make and fulfill your own dreams in your life after college. Maybe we need to return to that mindset.