Is the following statement true? Explain. "The rapid increase in college tuition will lower the demand for college."

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e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

If we are looking at the question of tuition costs affecting demand in a purely conversational and speculative way, we'd have to say that only time will tell. There is some intuitive notion that higher costs will reduce interest in attending college, sure, but there is also an intuitive counter-notion suggesting that a college degree is necessary to compete for employment positions in the marketplace.

With these competing factors, it seems that we cannot know what effect rising costs will have until some time has passed and we can actually see the effects in retrospect. 

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

A rapid increase in tuition would tend to lower the potential of many people to go to college - they have saved for a reasonable rate of increase, but cannot handle, say, the 14% increase in Washington State tuition this year AND last year.  So many students are forced to explore other options, or at least to delay their going to college.  It prices more and more people out of the college market and places more of a strain on the financial aid system.

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Interesting question. College tuition has risen dramatically in the past thirty years or forty years, but college enrollment has risen dramatically right along with it. A cause-effect relationship doesn't seem to be in play there at all. As an aside, I'll mention that in my community there is a state university and a state community college. Tuition has increased significantly at both of these schools, but the enrollment this fall at both schools is higher than ever.

marbar57's profile pic

marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, unless there are concrete facts to support such a statement, it is merely someone's opinion.  And while we are expressing opinions here, I will conjecture to say that if someone wants to go to college bad enough, the cost of tuition won't be a deterrent to him.  He'll find alternative methods of funding such as scholarships, grants, and internships.

There are still jobs out there that require you to have a Bachelor's, Master's, or Doctorate Degree to get hired; therefore, the demand for college will still be there just as strong as before. 

Again, as I've said before, without evidence to support my statement, it is just my own opinion.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Be careful with your terms here...  An increase in college tuition can not decrease the DEMAND for college.  A decrease in demand has to be shown by a shift in the demand curve.  What an increase in tuition will do is lower the QUANTITY DEMANDED (not trying to shout, but want to emphasize).  In other words, there will be movement along an existing demand curve.  (The link I've posted talks more about the difference between demand and quantity demanded.)

In order for there to be an actual change in demand for spots in college, something other than the price of college has to change.

So: yes -- fewer people will go to college (all other things being equal) but this is NOT a change in demand.

Wiggin42's profile pic

Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted on



College is unlike other goods and services so I don't think it'll neatly fit the supply and demand curves. For example, the rising college tuition rates is coupled with a rise in scholarship; especially for the colleges that meet 100% of demonstrated need. People are also more likely to take out a loan to pay for rising college costs than they are for other increasing costs. So long as employers use college degrees as a screening for jobs, there will be a huge demand for going to college (rising tuition or otherwise).

patrickdanforth's profile pic

patrickdanforth | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Of course, the statement has a great role while considering the recent moves that showed some changes. Increasing expenses makes one to find better solution from the current one.  A study based on the college admission process revealed that the number of students from high school to college is getting lowered each year. There are many reasons listed for the issue and one of them contributes this increasing tuition fee in the colleges. A number of surveys among such students also revealed the fact quite clearly. An online best colleges survey based on the students satisfaction shows the need of making emergency decisions on this increasing tuition fee issue. Most of the students finds online college education as a solution to overcome this situation and this not a good trend at all for the society to ensure better education.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

As per principles of economics, increase in supply it self has no impact on demand. The demand is dependent on the price. Therefore, if rapid increase in college tuition, also leads to decrease in price of education due to more intense competition, the demand for college.

It appears quite unlikely that increase in colleges by themselves will increase the price of college education. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that rapid increase in college tuition will lower the total demand for college. All that may happen is that the the total demand expressed as a proportion of total supply may decrease.

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