Why Are Colleges Getting So Expensive?

Students are paying more every year. But different schools have different reasons for their rising costs.

More

People like to ask why "college" is getting so expensive, but they need a better question. There are almost 7,000 accredited colleges and universities in the U.S., from public community colleges, to public research universities, to Ivy League bastions. Even beginning to say, "here's what college costs" is like saying "here's what food tastes like.” It's a big, useless generalization.

Different schools are getting expensive for different reasons. Since we only have three minutes in this video, we try to make it as easy as possible. The most important reason that public schools are raising tuition is that their states are cutting education spending. The most important reason that tony private schools are raising tuition, however, isn't state budgets shrinking, but rather the schools' budgets swelling, as they spend more on research and campus amenities to attract the world's best and brightest.

To learn more, watch the clip.

Jump to comments

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Where the Wildest Things Are

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Video

Just In