Woman Says Universities Are Greedy — 'They Don't Even Need To Charge Tuition, But They Do Anyway'

College is the big business that nobody talks about.

college professor teaching full classroom Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Are universities business institutions or educational ones? In the modern age, it’s easy to mistake one for the other. 

Hannah Maruyama uses her platform to educate people on college alternatives, ways to save money on tuition, and the value of acknowledging university exploitation.

With the average price of tuition at universities rising over 20% in the past 10 years, Maruyama is shining a light on the true nature of higher education as a business that's just as greedy as the rest of corporate America.


Maruyama says that universities operate as businesses, forcing young students to take on financial burdens to build their own wealth. 

Many videos on Maruyama's platform discuss the cost of university in the United States, and the turmoil it puts many students and families in when they make the decision to go. 



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Being that educational institutions like universities have been around for hundreds of years — with many families having generational students — there’s absolutely a stigma around deciding to take an alternative path. A 2023 study on degree achievement revealed that over 80% of high school grads who chose not to pursue college received some form of stigma for not having a degree.

That stigma and accusatory discourse that follows opposition to university education found a home in this TikToker's comment section, where she recalled a top comment that said, “That’s a really capitalist way to look at education.” 

Deciding to state her case against this capitalist counterpoint, she made several points about the reality of universities in the United States and how they function today. 

Universities are not simply about education — they’re a business where you can purchase access to materials. 

“Those words are not synonyms,” Maruyama said. “College is a place where you can purchase access to educational materials.” 


However, simply having a degree doesn’t mean that you’re educated, so while student loans are more accessible to students than ever before (allowing unprecedented access to burdening financial hardship), it doesn’t mean your diploma will be all that valuable. 

Even once you take on the burden of college, there are thousands of socio-economic factors that can play a role in ensuring the actual implementation of educational materials is not fulfilled. Just to name a few — transportation to college classes, the cost of supplemental materials like calculators and textbooks, or the cost of living in college towns

To sum up a massive and multidimensional conversation, vulnerable populations like low-income students are more likely to take on large insurmountable student loans to arrive in an educational system that opposes their success. 


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Many groups fight those who oppose going to college instead of addressing the morality of the Academic Industrial Complex. 

The Academic Industrial Complex is solely a name for the corruption, mass financial power, and influence that universities and academia hold over our society as a whole. It’s far from a new idea — intellectual figures have debated its significance for hundreds of years. 



However, while its power might have been established a long time ago, the influence it holds over students in this generation and ones recent is a whole new beast. 


The Academic Industrial Complex in the United States has accumulated over $1.77 trillion of student loan debt in 2023 for Americans. While many alumni escaped with $20,000 or less in student loans, more than one-third of our nation’s student debt is held by the 7% of borrowers who owe more than $100,000.

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While Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness initiative in 2022 has addressed many federal loan burdens, the private student loan burden is still active and growing wildly — almost 15% of student loan debt is from private lending companies. 

Many universities have tax-free endowments that allow for quicker accumulation of wealth through investments. 

So, when addressing the morality of burdening students with educational debt, there has to be a reason why colleges continue to do it — and it’s worse than what you’d think. 


While it’s a broad stroke of an unfortunately common brush, universities typically don’t need to charge the tuition that they do. Using endowments to accumulate wealth at a massive scale, the price of college is simply a means to profit their business.

Endowments often encompass both group and individual donors' money — a pool of “tax-free” accumulation that can then be invested elsewhere into things like hedge funds to increase value. So, while charging hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition to students every year, colleges continue to build their wealth. 


Colleges like Harvard and Yale have some of the largest endowments among national universities, with a combined worth of over $100 billion. Despite that, they continue to have some of the highest costs of tuition, often accompanied by what many would call “misleading” buzzwords like aid, assistance, and grants. 

So while Maruyama continues to educate her audience on the reality of student loans, university morality, and educational institutions, we still have a long way to go before this “beast” is addressed. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.