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SPJ Launches Investigative Series on the Cost of College

The cost of college is one of the biggest challenges our generation will face. The corporatization of higher education has put more pressure than ever before on university administrations to keep their schools viable in an increasingly competitive collegiate environment. Annual tuition rates nationwide have increased every year since 1971. In the 2015-2016 academic year, the average cost of a four-year private college was $32,405. With room and board, it was $43,921.

At Marist College, tuition and fees for traditional undergraduate students for the current 2015-2016 school year are $33,750. The total is $48,600 with room and board. These costs are expected to increase next year.

These high costs, both at Marist and other colleges around the country, have left students and their families saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Last year, graduating seniors nationwide left school with an average of $35,051 in student loan debt, the highest to date.

The rising cost of college and the student loan debt crisis have been part of our national discourse for years. Now we want to be part of the conversation.  

Much has been written, studied, investigated and explained about the cost of college. Why is it so expensive? How can we expand educational opportunities for students from low-income families? What can our politicians do to help stifle such financial burdens? Many pundits, researchers and experts have already attempted to provide answers to these often complex questions. But we want to bring a different perspective.

Over the course of the next 11 weeks, we will be working on an investigative project that seeks to reveal the repercussions of high tuition costs.

The project is called “Assuming the Cost: How Students Pay for College.”

We want to put a human face on an issue too often saturated with numbers, statistics and formulas. We want to show the lengths to which students and their families go and the sacrifices they make to afford college.

Our investigative series, along with supplemental video and print packages, will feature both Marist and non-Marist students who pay for college in extraordinary ways – a student-athlete with a full-ride, a freshman who becomes a resident assistant to afford school, a girl who works as a stripper to offset the costs. These are just a few of the stories we will highlight.

On behalf of the Marist College Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, we hope you will follow along for the ride. 


Sources:

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/marist-college-2765

http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/tuition-and-fees-and-room-and-board-over-time-1

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/class-of-2015-has-the-most-student-debt-in-us-history-2015-05-08

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