Do Stricter Higher Ed Rules Mean Lower College Costs?


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A pair of developments are causing major ripples within the American educational system today. First this: The sticker-price for many public four-year institutions shot up nearly 8% this fall. And this: A higher education rule package that restricts the growth of for-profit institutions. So how does one affect the other?

Well, by enacting such measures as capped compensation limits for college recruiters and requiring educational institutions to be more accurate about in presenting job expectations for students with the education they’re purchasing, the profit margin for universities shrinks considerably. Compensation limits for recruiters means their efforts will go towards netting fewer students–and a fixed number at that. While more accurate depictions of what students can hope to achieve in terms of gainful employment following their education might also serve to curb the number of incoming students, by making them re-evaluate their decision to enroll at a particular university.

This is lose-win. For-profit institutions stand to lose a lot of business–although we learned yesterday that there are other ways they can still stand to win big–with these regulations. But students stand to be the biggest winners. Sandy Baum, a senior policy analyst for the College Board and a Skidmore College economics professor, says:

Despite the fact sticker prices have gone way up, there is so much grant aid out there that many students are really paying less than they did before.

Couple Baum’s assertion with regulations that could feasibly shrink the number of incoming students at some of the nation’s most expensive schools and that’s how students–who have been facing a struggle to pay for college in recent years–may finally get the closest shot to a fair education that they’ve had in years.