The instructions for the Definition Essay are found in Chapter 10 of the textboo

The instructions for the Definition Essay are found in Chapter 10 of the textbook.
Use academic tone
Use correct MLA
Use the Classical Argument Strategy 
(assuming the classical argument model)
Exigency/catchy opening – if the topic is the expense of college, as college students, surely you could think of something relevant here?
Explanation of context – here, it might be a question of why some problem has arisen
Thesis: College tuition has increased approximately 260 percent since 1980 because of declining funding from state governments and the competition between colleges to attract students with ever-more elaborate services, all coupled with the normal operation of inflation.
Make transition.
What pattern have you chosen for your reasons? Will you try to arrange things chronologically, in a causal chain or web, or will you go for something more like order of importance? It is best, of course, if your reasons follow the predictive thesis you used in your introduction, so we will use that precedent; for our example, order of importance.
Prove that your social phenomenon – here college costs rising – is true.
“State support for higher education has declined.” This assertion is the “Y” in our sequence, and you must prove it is true. You can look at your state – or likely any state, for that matter – or you can look at national data, but they will all tell a similar tale. You can look at gross dollars, remembering to adjust for inflation/change across time; you can look at support as a percentage of operating costs. Just as a point of pre-emptive rebuttal perhaps, note that if school budgets started increasing, then the percentage of state aid – even if the money remained steady – would look like a decline, so you need to be able to show that is not the explanation for what has been happening. Point out, for example, that even if money remained steady, inflationary action inevitably means that money supports less and less. Once you have shown your “Y,” you must then also prove the “–>,” which is the causality itself. Argue that less state funding must be made up, thus the increased tuition costs. Again, some causal connections will require less work because their warrants are more likely to be widely shareable, but you must not merely assume the connections are apparent or clear, and you must directly address the causality to at least make the links explicit.
“Colleges compete with more expensive amenities.” You must prove this “Y” true, too. Quote college presidents talking about the pressures to recruit and retain students in a highly competitive world; explain the logic that a place where a lot of students go to school is probably a place where a lot of students would like to go to school – because nothing draws a crowd like a crowd, so the colleges have to be willing to draw a crowd; demonstrate the modern rise of swanky dorms, student rec centers, highly visible sports programs, etc., all designed to capture the student imagination; at the same time, you show that these programs’ costs are borne by the students in the form of tuition or fees. Just as with any other reason, having proved the “Y,” now address the “–>” and show how increased publicity and advertising budgets, sixteen racquetball courts, climbing walls, or multiple dining halls directly add to a student’s cost.
“Inflation continues to operate.” The simple fact of the matter is that very few things in a modern economy ever get cheaper. Technology (like personal computers) often does after the first few generations, but then it levels off and even at the “cheap” price, will still get more expensive as time goes by. The nature of capitalism is the appreciation of goods and services, and colleges are not immune from these forces. Just because a history professor, for example, is still teaching the same history of Tudor England does not mean the cost of employing that person remains the same: health insurance, competitive salary, and on and on. And that does not even begin to cover the costs of operating the physical plant of the college itself: the heat, the AC, the tar for sealing the parking lots, the increasing complexity of the Wi-Fi network or electron microscopes, and on and on. Everything gets a little more expensive every year, and when there is less money, that gap compounds, and the students get squeezed.
Be sure to prove the “Y” and the “–>” for all the reasons in your chain/web.
If you have not already done so along the way, now is the time to address rebuttal. The Rebuttal might take at least three forms beyond summarizing the opposition arguments and whatever concessions to opposing strengths you need to grant. First, it is possible someone will argue your phenomenon (X) is not real or really happening; you would have pre-empted this already if you were thorough in point #1, above. Second, a critic might argue that your causes (the Ys) are not real – they did not really happen, etc. You would have addressed this with strong grounds. Third, a critic might argue that your connections (the –>s) are not real – thing X does not lead to the next thing. This would be the position of someone who might agree that Person H is poor and did commit a crime but would point out that most poor people do not commit crimes, so the causality is broken. You would have addressed that with strong backing.
An opponent may also offer a different set of causes. The writer George Will, for example, argues that college costs have primarily risen to capture the increased money available in federal and state student loans. More loan money –> students can spend more –> colleges will charge more.
You would need to be able to prove that Will has the causality almost exactly backward – the federal and state governments have converted much of their funding into loan programs, but that has resulted in less directly appropriated money (which you have already shown), and that leads to budget shortfalls, and that is where you came in. The amount the federal government has made available in Pell Grants, for instance, has had to increase to keep up with the lack of funding;[8] it is not the case that the increasing federal money is causing the rise; it is a result of the rise. The root cause is not greedy colleges, but parsimonious state legislatures. Just as with any other rebuttal, you must also be able to prove these kinds of claims, too.
Summarize what the readers have learned from your argument.
Suggest a next step or connect this causality to a larger issue. Now that the readers have learned this thing, what should they do with the knowledge? Support a realignment of state priorities? Look into alternate funding models for college?
End in some vivid way designed to stick in the readers’ minds; here some education or school-related reference seems suitable: “The next time you want to vent your frustrations about tuition, don’t blame your professor, but call your state senator, then maybe go for a relaxing swim in the campus’s new Olympic-size pool.”