The rising cost of college and its acute impact on communities of color have received significant media attention in the past few months and deservedly so. As the Boston Globe reported in its article, “Students at state’s public colleges gird for higher tuition,” the cost to attend a state university or a community college in Massachusetts will go up by 8 to 10 percent this year.
Historically, state universities and community colleges have served a large number of minority students hoping to earn a degree without breaking the bank. According to the Center for Community College Student Engagement, over one-third of community college students in the U.S. are of color – Hispanics representing 18 percent, Blacks at 15 percent, Asian/Pacific Islander at 6 percent; and 40 percent who are first-generation college students. Therefore, this price hike will certainly impact families of color who already face a high cost of living, lower incomes and higher unemployment rates.
This news article follows several in the past three months from the Boston Globe that question the actual value of a college education. From the perspective of lifetime earnings alone, a college degree remains an excellent investment. Nonetheless, today more than ever, students should demand higher value from higher education.
With this in mind, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) is extremely value conscious. We have not raised tuition since 2011, and offer the lowest tuition compared to all private colleges in the state. In fact, the next cheapest private college is almost twice as expensive as BFIT. Our decision to keep tuition low is based on the economic realities of Greater Boston. In the past five years, the earning power of the families we serve hasn’t gone up, so why ask them to pay more? Simply put, higher tuition would mean an additional burden on families who cannot afford it.
Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (BFIT) is extremely value conscious. We have not raised tuition since 2011, and offer the lowest tuition compared to all private colleges in the state.
To avoid additional financial burden on our students, we are constantly looking for new funding sources, grants, personal donations, and creative ways to improve efficiencies. For example, this past year when BFIT set out to upgrade its student information system, learning management system, and retention information system, we pursued and secured a Title III federal grant to cover these costs rather than tinker with our tuition.
Moreover, tuition is only one variable in the higher education equation. The other variable that students and their families should consider is the return on their investment or ROI. In other words, what’s the payoff? If the answer is a good paying job with growth potential, then the investment of time and money in college is well-worth it in the long run.
Students and their families must think about what their student-loan dollars buy them in future earnings. Those who take on additional debt that does not increase their earning potential are often making a poor investment. In contrast, students who come to BFIT typically will see an increase in their earnings the first year after graduation more than their total amount of student debt. According to the Department of Education’s College Scorecard, BFIT students earn the highest salaries after attending compared to students from all other two-year colleges in Massachusetts (excluding nursing).
The question isn’t only “How much does the college cost?” but also “What is college going to get me for my investment?” We’re proud that BFIT has a great answer for both questions.