Also in this week's C&EN, this letter to the editor on college tuition:
I share your concern on dropping undergraduate enrollment numbers as expressed in the editorial in the Feb. 7 issue of C&EN (page 2). The pandemic undoubtedly played a role, but the skyrocketing cost of tuition for higher education is a serious factor that cannot be overlooked. I’m old enough that I remember being able to work two jobs and pay for college tuition, food, and rent. Despite some availability of grants, this is no longer a possibility for the majority of undergraduate students without taking on burdensome student loans.
With a few exceptions, it appears that the ready availability of student loans has only encouraged universities to raise tuition rates to absurd levels. If the US government is to be a source of student loans, there should be accompanying restrictions on how much and how rapidly higher learning institutions can raise tuition. If we cannot make higher education more readily available without a decades-long student debt burden, we will see undergraduate enrollment continuing to decline, much to our detriment.
Robert B. Cody
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
It seems almost axiomatic to me that, as tuition increases go up, student enrollments would go down, but that doesn't really seem to be the case for the last number of years? I would think that the demographic trends that are pointed to in the original editorial are the true source of the decline...