For the next few Tuesdays, I’m planning to write a little about the impacts of rising tuition costs on emerging generations of students and young architects. This is a topic that seems to appear more frequently in newspapers, magazines, and online publications as well as a topic of conversation among architects, educators, students, and prospective students.
I and many others believe that if the architecture, design, engineering, and construction industry is to address the serious issues of diversity and talent shortages that we face, we must invest more fully in our education system.
So first, the scale of the problem. Recently, using data from the United States Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, I compiled data comparing the growth of college tuition and fees, median home prices, and the annual change in the consumer price index. When plotting this annual data from 1978-2009, the following picture results:
College debts are an order of magnitude higher than just a few decades ago (and have risen more than three times as fast as the consumer price index).
Over the coming weeks, I will look at specific examples driving this problem, unique challenges we face, and what others are saying about the topic. I hope this spurs conversation and awareness as well as a willingness on the part of the profession to invest more fully in supporting schools across the country.