College has turned into a business proposition. Students invest their time and money in exchange for a degree that will hopefully secure them a spot on the pathway to success.
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, published an article in The Huffington Post that made its way around the Internet. In his article he raises a complex question: Will your college go out of business before you graduate?
No university is going to close its doors on its students. You're not going to wake up one day and go to school to find it vacant. That isn't what Cuban is referring to. But college is no longer a decision based on want. It's a ruthless decision based on value.
"Unless your parents are wealthy or you qualify for a full ride or something close, the days of picking a school because that is the school you always wanted to go to are gone," he said.
Cuban couldn't be more right. An education should be a right, but instead, it has become a privilege. Every year, our tuition increases. Every year, our textbook prices increase. But every year, our education remains the same.
The superficial continues to change. Campuses around the world have become more beautiful with new state of the art facilities, parking garages, modern landscaping and other renovations.
But take a look inside the classrooms where students are learning. Is anything different? The answer is no. A campus renovation doesn't change the quality of our education, just the look.
However, our degree doesn't get any prettier. It's the same piece of paper that we hang on our walls. It's the same piece of paper that we pay thousands of dollars to attain. It's the same piece of paper that our entire future rides on.
Tuition continues to increase for the sake of a university and not for its current students. Instead, we pay for the future of our university, which prospective students will benefit from but we will not.
Cuban said, "College is where you find out about yourself. It's where you learn how to learn. It's where you get exposure to new ideas." But if attending college continues to become more expensive, many students won't have this opportunity.
Universities are a business that students keep alive. And if students can't afford to pay for their education, how will these institutions stay open?
We're in college for an education. The beauty of a campus is a bonus that students shouldn't have to pay for. As colleges continue to become more selective in their admission process, students continue to eliminate colleges that are out of their budget.
In many cases, these colleges were once schools students dreamed about attending. Money shouldn't make or break dreams.