Conflict Theoretical Perspective

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Conflict theoretical approach can be defined as the pressures and problems that relate to limited resources (Crossman, 2019). The unequal distribution of resources creates an unbalanced social life and a sense of power control. The conflict theory views the social life as a contention among the different social classes that exist where those with power rule over others. The conflict scholars point out that social inequality in schools was not minimized through the introduction of public schools. Karl Marx's theory, according to Crossman (2019), argues that the education system encourages social divisions through social class, gender, and culture. Students from low-income homes do not have the same access to educational resources as students from high-income households. Such differences may result in social conflicts. According to Caplinger (2018), the rising tuition fee has created challenges for both the parents and the students. It is estimated that tuition costs have gone up by more than $7,000 in the previous ten years. The rising costs have further led to an inflation crisis higher than 3%, with no signs of its reduction (Crossman, 2019). Additionally, student loans have gone up, and as a result, students, especially those of poor and middle-income earner homes, continue to be in massive debts. The implications of the debts have put the careers of the students in trouble from the onset. This paper will discuss in detail the consequences of rising tuition costs of American colleges and universities.

The increase in the cost of tuition fees has attracted different consequences for the different socio-economic groups that exist. According to Karl Marx's theory of conflict, the focus is mainly on the rich and powerful who are better referred to as the bourgeoisie (Crossman, 2019). Further, the poor or working-class who have neither power nor wealth, also known as the proletariat. Each social group conflicts with each other because of their differences in goals and interests. Also, there exists a lot of competition among these groups as they seek to access the same resources. At the end of it all, the resources are unequally spread, with those in power being the recipients of the majority of the resources while the working-class struggle to acquire the same resources (Crossman, 2019). Students that accumulate student loans to continue with their education belong to the working class. However, those that come from rich families have no struggles and do not need loans for their education. At the same time, the students from working-class families may even forego their college education because they are not able to afford their tuition fees. Crossman (2019), points out that as the socio-economic conditions of the proletariat worsen, they would rebel against the rich. They would fight against the injustices created by the bourgeoisie and demand for changes. These changes would be vital in easing the fights, but the cycle would repeat itself. However, a peaceful and stabilized society would mean a new system created as a result of a revolution.

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One key problem associated with the increase in tuition fees is the incapability faced by students from low-income families to pursue their studies in colleges and universities of their choice (Caplinger, 2018). As much as there are financial aids for students to cater for tuition fee, most students who come from low-income families are not able to access the money and sometimes they do not take up the aid because they know they may not be able to pay it off after college (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2016). Due to these facts, some students land in careers that are less likely to require a degree qualification. Crossing from one social class to the next is nearly impossible for the low-income earners because of the continuous cycle of low income-generating jobs, unlike those with degree qualifications. Students from families whose parents have a degree tend to be in a better position of acquiring a degree. Students from low-income families may enroll in colleges but drop out in the second semester because of the increased tuition fee that keeps rising. The students realize that school is expensive, and financing it is nearly impossible. On the other hand students from well of families have no difficulties in the funding of their education. They can go through college and complete their studies without struggles in paying for their tuition (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2016).

The accumulation of debts being incurred by the students from middle-class families is continuously going up. One of the reasons for this is the constant change in colleges. Students find themselves moving from one college to another and may end up not completing their studies (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2016). As a result, they bury themselves in debts but have no degree to show. Statistics indicate that 11% of students that receive financial aid do not go back to school after they finish their first year. Another one shows that about 80% of the students do not complete their education, meaning that they do not get to earn a bachelor's degree while another 20% take a long period of about six years to earn their bachelor's degree (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2016). A good example is a comparison of two students who, under the same circumstances, are set to graduate at the same time with a similar degree. One student, however, has accumulated loans, and the other has not. The difference between the two is that, upon completion, one will be required to pay the debt while the other one will use the extra money to save or do something constructive with it. Studies show that an average number of students, seven out of ten, complete their studies with accumulated student loans.

In conclusion, the conflict theoretical approach goes way back to the 18th century. It causes divisions causing a difference in political standpoint, social class, ethnic differences, and other social disparities. As much as it existed even in the 18th century, it is still relevant to this day and era. The rising cost of education in as far as tuition fees are concerned, has brought with it many problems including the aftermath effects that involve a burdened generation that has to pay for the debts even as they usher in a new era of adulthood filled with responsibilities. Social conflicts may never be resolved due to the influence of the rich and powerful. The inequality created as a result of the rising tuition costs creates concern among the policymakers. There are questions on whether financial aid is meeting its intended purpose to low-income families. However, many studies have concluded that the education system has only made socio-economic inequality worse. It has divided students and made the gap even wider than it has done in building the bridge of its reduction (Goldrick-Rab, et al., 2016).

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Conflict Theoretical Perspective. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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