14 Oct 2015

Athletics Raise College Tuition Costs

Athletics Raise College Tuition Costs

The staggering levels of accrued student loan debt is a national crisis.  President Obama has used this as one of his cornerstone messages over the past 8 years.  Presidential Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has weighed in on this crisis as well.  The impact on the national economy is dramatic as students enter our society and economy with debt thus limiting their ability to secure loans and participate in our consumer driven economy.

There are several points of view regarding why college costs continue to outpace inflation and arguably, have a lesser guarantee of leading to employment.  A article published in the Huffington Post by Robert Greenwald takes an interesting perspective on why tuition costs are increasing.  He asserts that college athletics raise college tuition costs.  In particular he sites since 2000 overall college tuition has increased 30%.  When comparing the average increase with states with strong football programs the average increases to a 55% tuition increase since 2000.

College sports, particularly football, are economic engines for universities.  There can be national attention given to the university thus providing free advertisement to attract new students.  There are endorsements, tv contracts and booster money that follows.  What also occurs is increasing expenditures to keep a top caliber program running.  These expenditures tend to be more predictable and consistent as compared to outside revenue streams so universities look to their only revenue option and that is passing the costs on to the consumers- the students.

Athletics raise tuition costs by passing on the burden to all students in order to operate athletic programs.  The vast majority of students, estimated 70% of college graduates carry debt, acquire and accumulate college tuition debt to pay for their university’s athletic programs.  This cost accumulates with annual interest applied to the debt and ultimately, none of it benefits them.

The crisis of out of control and is worsening as tuition costs increase.  There are many factors attributing to this situation  but passing on the cost to all students because college athletics raise tuition costs is one area that would likely find little support to continue.



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