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VOA慢速英语[教育新闻]美国大学学费为何那么昂贵?

2016-03-18    来源:普特英语听力    【      美国外教 在线口语培训
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From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

The problem

Congressional Research Services reports that over the past 25 years, college fees rose almost 2 percent faster than inflation every year.

This suggests that college has become expensive relative to the cost of living.

At the same time, a college education is increasingly valuable. College graduates earn more money and have better career prospects than those who only have a high school degree.

How do colleges get money?

In the U.S., three main sources of money give revenue to colleges.

They are government appropriations, gift and endowment revenue, and payments for tuitions and fees. If one source of revenue decreases, colleges often look to raise revenue in another place.

How do colleges determine prices?

When students talk about the price of college, they are usually referring to payments for tuition and fees.

Both public and private schools engage in price discrimination, which means charging different prices to different students.

Adam Davidson, writing in the New York Times, says that the rise of college prices is a sign of market competition in elite colleges. If colleges publish a high price, they can attract top students with financial aid. The greater the reduction in the tuition, the more likely schools may be in attracting successful students to build the school's reputation.

Davidson reports that colleges often use computer programs to give a price. The price reflects a student's willingness to pay, academic record, ethnicity, and the major that they are likely to choose.

While colleges publish one price, the “sticker price,” they really have many price points. Davidson says the price offered to students is based on how attractive the student is to the school.

One problem with this, says Congressional Research Services, is that it means that college costs are not transparent. Students are not able to directly compare the cost of schools.

Michael Leachman and Michael Mitchell are researchers at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. They write that the high sticker price of education may discourage poor students from applying to college.

Leachman and Mitchell write that poor students, and particularly poor minority students, benefit from enrolling in selective, expensive schools.

But many poor students may be unaware of the available financial aid. They are only aware of the sticker price. Many do not apply to colleges whose sticker price seems too high.

The impact of the Great Recession

In general, states cut funding to higher education during economic recessions. The recession of 2007 through 2009 was no different. States collected less tax money, and appropriated less money for higher education.

In the U.S, states provide around 53 percent of the revenue used to support state schools.

When states appropriate less per student, schools raise fees to pay expenses.

Schools also cut other costs, such as the amount of financial aid given to students.

Michael Mitchell, an expert at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says:

“One way that state schools have been looking to try to make up the difference is by actually offering smaller scholarship packages or smaller grant packages to wealthier students – students that can actually pay the rest of that tuition price – and moving away from larger grant packages to low income students.”

What happens if students don't receive financial aid?

Even if a student receives a scholarship or grant, they may still need to borrow money to pay for school.

Student debt has become the largest source of household debt in the United States. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York estimates that student loans grew to almost $1.2 trillion dollars in 2014.

Many students cannot pay back the money they borrowed. They default on their loans. The U.S. Department of Education says that of the 4.7 million students who started repaying their student loans in 2011, almost 650,000, or 13.7 percent, defaulted before the end of 2013.

Should endowments pay for tuition?

Some, such as the Candidates for the Harvard Board of Overseers, suggest making endowments pay for college costs. Harvard, for example, has an endowment that is worth around $35.9 billion dollars. The University of Texas system, a public school system, has an endowment worth around $25.4 billion dollars.

Endowments are investment funds maintained for the benefit of a college. However, donors may restrict how schools spend their endowment money. Congressional Research Services says that almost 40 percent of permanent endowment money is donor restricted.

Jeff Neal, a spokesperson for Harvard, said that endowments are not like bank accounts, where money is easily deposited or withdrawn.

Mitchell, at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, says that many schools have small endowments, or have no endowments at all. Those schools cannot use their endowment to pay expenses in an emergency.

“Only a very small segment [of schools] that can really look at endowment as a viable safety net in that regard.”

From VOA Learning English, I'm John Russell.


这里是美国之音慢速英语教育报道。

问题所在之处

美国国会研究服务调查署表示,在过去的25年里,每年学费的增长率比通货膨胀率还高出2%。

读大学成为了生活中最大开销。

与此同时,大学教育变得越来越有价值。大学毕业的学生比只有高中文凭的人赚更多的钱,拥有更好的职业前景。
 
大学是怎么筹集运行资金的?

在美国,大学筹集资金主要有三个不同方式。

主要渠道是政府支持,社会各界捐赠和学生上缴的学杂费。如果上述任何一种方式资金减少,大学就需要在其他方面增加收费。

大学学费是如何定价的?

当学生在谈论学费时,他们通常说的都是交给学校的学杂费。

公立大学和私立大学对不同的学生收取的费用都是不同的。

Adam Davidson在纽约时报上表示,大学学费的上涨是各顶尖大学之间竞争的标志。如果大学收取高额学费,他们可以吸引那些获得学费帮助的好学生。越减少学费,就越可以吸引成功的学生来给学校打广告。

Davidson表示,学校经常用电脑系统来定制学费。学费的多少反应了学生对自己选择的教育所愿意支付的费用,自己希望的学业成绩,种族和专业。

然而,学校公布的出的价格只有一个,但是实际上不一样。Davidson表示,价格歧视是根据学校对学生的吸引力。
 
美国国会调查服务署表示,这其中就有一个问题,学校的花费是不透明的。学生不能直接对比各个学校之间的花费。
 
Michael Leachman 和 Michael Mitchell是预算与政策优先研究中心的研究员。他们写到,高标价的学费使得许多贫困学生对大学望而却步。

Leachman 和 Mitchell写到,贫困的学生,特别是贫困的少数民族学生,能从那些好的,但是学费高昂的学校中收获很多。

但是很多贫困的学生可能并不在意自己能否获得学费帮助。他们只在意学费。很多人都不会申请学费太高的学校。

经济大萧条的影响

总体来说,在经济衰退时期,政府会减少对高校的财政资助。从2007年到2009年的经济衰退时期也不过例外。很多州减少了税收,给高等教育拨款也少了。

在美国,各个州提供有53%的税收用于州立大学。
 
如果州立非给每个学生的钱变少了,学校就会增加学生的学费。

学校也会减少其他开支,比如给学生的补助金。

预算和政策优先研究中心专家Michael Mitchell说:
 
“州立大学一个行之有效能够改善现在这种状况的方法是:减少来自富裕家庭优秀学生的奖学金,把这些奖学金分给那些家庭条件不是很好的优秀学生。”

如果学生没有收到财政资助又会发生什么?

即使学生获得了奖学金之类资助,他们可能还需要向学校借钱。

在美国,学生贷款成为了一个家庭里最组要的贷款形式了。美联储表示,2014年学生贷款数量达到了1.2亿美元。

很多学人不能归还他们所欠下的钱。他们拒绝还款。美国教育部门表示:2011年起又4700万美国学生开始偿还学生贷款,但是在2013年底,有650000,将近13.7%的学生没有还清贷款。

应该捐赠基金用于支付学费么

有些像理事会监理会的候选人建议捐赠基金。比如哈佛大学就有价值35900000万美元捐赠基金。德克萨斯州大学属于公立教育系统,拥有25400000万美元捐赠基金。

捐赠基金是投资方用来维护一个学校利益的。然而,捐赠者可以限制学校如何花他们的捐赠基金。美国国会调查服务署表示,40%的永久捐赠基金由捐赠者限制着。

Jeff Neal哈佛大学的发言人表示,捐赠基金不想银行账目那么容易存取。

预算和政策优先研究中心专家Michael Mitchell说:很多学校都有小型的捐赠基金,或者直接没有捐赠基金。这些学校在紧急情况下都不能动用捐赠基金来应付开支。

“只有很少一部分学校在这方面是一个可见的安全系统,让大家真正看到捐赠资金。”



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