The Salt Lake Tribune spoke to the 21-year-old electrical engineering student as he stood in line waiting to pay the balance of his tuition bill at the Student Services building, cradling a metal case containing 2,000 dollar bills.
Even though the student receives a discount on tuition because his father is on the faculty, he felt it was important to get the word out about the increasing cost of an education.
“By no means am I the saddest story on campus. There’s a lot of people here just as bad and probably worse,” he told the Tribune. “The people making the prices are not actually aware of how hard it is on the students.”
The hope, he explains, is that other students will follow his lead in future semesters.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says the cost of a college education has increased tenfold during the last three decades, far outpacing the rate of inflation. Even as the economy tanked following the collapse of the housing market in 2008, tuitions continued to soar.
Public institutions like the University of Utah are in a particular pickle, facing increasing costs while cash-strapped states contribute less to higher education.
The increased cost to students has resulted in student loan debt that now totals more than $1 trillion in the U.S. This heavier student loan burden is preventing a number of recent college graduates from making important investments, like buying their first home, starting a retirement savings account, or saving for their own kids’ education.