People in the United States are familiar with the high cost of a college education. We lament over the ever-rising price tag and the subsequent implications of loan debt - it becomes a stressful mess though it is so widespread that people sympathize with each other's plights. Many wish our education system followed in the footsteps of European countries where education is free or is available at a much lower cost.

However, that is not the reality that we are faced with and we need to figure out a way to reduce the necessary budget where we can without sacrificing the quality of the institution. Perhaps it's time to go back to the books and rethink the way we handle procurement for higher education facilities around the country - keeping costs as low as possible without compromising the education.

Pomp and better circumstances ahead
While there isn't necessarily a cheap school in the U.S., there are undoubtedly some that are more expensive than others. Not counting Ivy League schools like Harvard and Stanford, some college educations cost upwards of $65,000 per year. The state of Illinois' public colleges and universities on average cost 30 to 60 percent more than a school of equal caliber in another state, reported US News and World Report.

According to Reboot Illinois, the best way to cut costs for the state is to reexamine the procurement process. To ensure that there is serious and significant change on the way instead of just a load of empty promises, the Daily Chronicle announced that a bill filed in the states' House could potentially reduce costs for public institutions by up to $100 million annually. Not only is this great news for the state because taxpayers won't have to pay as much, but these savings are then passed down to the students who then may not have to go into debt to attend one of these schools.

The first move of many
While it is great news for Illinois residents and students, this will certainly not help everyone in the country until similar legislation is passed on a state-by-state basis or on a national level. Schools' procurement service programs have been a source of contention for a while now. People are upset with the cost of tuition but generally understand that professors need a paycheck, buildings need to be maintained and the utility bills won't pay themselves. Many students and parents look toward procurement services to see where the school could spare some funding.

It may be impossible for America to ever have free or severely reduced-cost high education, but the manner in which schools procure their goods could very well be a fine place to start. Of course, we have to consider inflation and the quality of the resources when comparing today's schools with the college education experience from even 25 years ago, but the constant escalation does cause some concern.

Hopefully within the next few years we can see a shift in the way colleges and universities procure their necessary goods so that students may be able to afford the quality of education they want without signing their lives over to the Federal Loan Agency. If reinvigorated procurement services are the solution to prevent costs from rising any further, then it's time to put our noses to the grindstone and figure out how to make education work for students rather than students working their whole lives to pay for their education.

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Carole Boyle

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