Photo by Brenda Lin

If there is one problem that just about any college student in America can relate to, it is the problem of rising tuition.  There has been nearly a fifty percent increase in tuition from ten years ago.  Tech will be contributing to this trend with a nine percent increase for in-state tuition and a six percent increase for out-of-state tuition.

With higher costs comes more debt. In 2014, the average college graduate with student loans exited college with a staggering $33,000 of debt, the most indebted class ever.  In 1994, the average student loan debt for a college graduate was just above $10,000. Still a decent amount, but much more manageable than what recent graduates are facing today.

It is going to take a combination of things to make college more affordable such as providing more online classes and offering tuition deferment plans. One solution I think should be examined is decreasing the amount of electives students need to meet their degree requirements. While this is not a long-term solution, I believe it is something that could help.

As a student pursing a Business Administration degree at Tech, I need 16 hours of electives. Including the six hours of Humanities that are required, it pushes the number up to 22.  Even for the ambitious Tech students, 22 hours is about a semester and half worth of course work.  That’s nearly $7,500 in-state students are paying solely for electives and a staggering $22,500 for non-Georgia
residents.

I find that to be a little expensive for courses that have little to do with my major and will probably not help me in my future career.

The message here is not that elective courses are useless or that nothing can be learned from them. That simply is not true. I have taken several electives that I not only found interesting, but that I also feel like a learned quite a bit.

Had I chosen my electives based on which courses would have been most beneficial instead of which ones fit into my schedule the best, I may have learned even more. The point is that although these classes may be useful, they are not necessary.

I understand that Tech wants its students to be well rounded and that elective courses help achieve this objective. But with the rate at which tuition is increasing and the amount of debt students exit schools with, colleges should be examining every option that could make school more affordable.

Is it really necessary for students studying accounting to take 22 hours of electives in order to be a good accountant? Probably not. If it is not necessary, then why make it a requirement? Maybe students do need to take a lot of electives in order to become well rounded. I just believe with rising tuition
colleges should take a close look to see if this many electives are truly necessary or if they are just another factor leading to the
increased cost of a college
education.