WSJ Opinion Question: How can Wisconsin make higher education more affordable?
“Be a Wise Consumer” by Mary Owen, Founder and President, Legacy College Funding
Higher Education has become a consumer product just like lipstick or shampoo, and as such, is driven by consumer interest. Larger public universities and private institutions have increased their prices to match market demand. As long as consumers demand four-year degrees from expensive schools (both public and private), these products will be the norm.
But there is another way.
Families with college-bound students can decide to be wise consumers and take taming the costs of college into their own hands. First, high school students should participate in a variety of internships, job shadow opportunities, and advanced classes to fine-tune their career interests, reducing the likelihood of switching majors and adding a fifth year of education costs to their resume. Second, families should consider encouraging their student to attend a two-year transfer program. After all, it matters more where you finish your degree and less where you start it. And lastly, get help. Talk to college planning professionals who can help you navigate the college funding process.
In summary, as enrollment decreases at expensive 4-year schools, universities will have to do as all good businesses do: change to meet their consumers’ demands. The State can’t dictate this change, but you can.