The costs of higher education

By Corinne Doubek

Senior accounting student Grace Bowers is about to graduate in May and head straight into the Master’s of Business Administration in accounting.

Luckily for her, Ashland University instituted a program in which students can complete their undergraduate and master’s degrees in accounting in five years or less.

One of the major positives of this program is the reduction of money and loans required.

AU has created a number of programs in addition to the accelerated accounting MBA that will allow students the chance to reduce the costs of their education. These include the four-year graduation guarantee and the three-year degree programs. In an effort to reduce costs of higher education, AU seems to be taking an initiative.

Olivia Huff, a senior business student, said, “I think they haven’t reduced the costs. Every year I’ve had to borrow more money to cover the costs…which I’m going to have to pay back in the future.”

Perhaps these new programs can help. Under the four-year graduation guarantee, AU has promised that if a student does not complete their degree under the conditions listed in four years, the university will cover the costs for the rest of their education.

Among the 14 conditions are attending AU for eight consecutive semesters and declaring a major by the end of the students’ freshman year.

For the three-year degree programs, only a certain number of majors are capable of applying. Students would be required to do two summer sessions in addition to their six fall and spring semesters and is still based on the 120-credit hour graduation requirement. This will allow students to save on an entire year’s worth of tuition and to enter the workforce a year earlier.

In a previous article released on the AU website, president Fred Finks said, “We have listened to people’s concerns about higher education and we believe this new program will help students earn a quality education in less time and for less money.”

So, if AU has been doing so much for its students and reducing costs of tuition, what have the presidential candidates promised in order to reduce them even further?

According to an Associated Press story released on Oct. 24, President Barack Obama and governor Mitt Romney have different ideas on how to reduce the costs for collegiate students.

Romney has proposed reversing Obama’s nationalization of the federal student loan 

business and bringing back the private lenders. 

Romney has said that his would be more efficient for taxpayers and beneficial for students. 

He also has been noted saying he wants to continue to grow the Pell Grant.

President Obama, on the other hand, has said that he wants to propose a program called “Race to the Top,” which would award states that reform the way higher education costs are handled. 

In addition, the states that do not take the steps to reform would be cut off from any more aid. 

Both candidates have ideas to help, but according to Bowers, higher education does not seem to be at the top of the men’s to-do list.

“I think the presidential candidates will focus on other issues before they focus on helping students in higher education,” she said. “They can campaign with it all they want, but I think it will take much longer for the President, whoever wins, to do something about it.”