Alethia Q. California

College Tuition

College debt, financial aid for the middle class

Dear Mr. or Madam President,

As a senior in high school, I believe college tuition is at an astounding high for middle class citizens. It is almost impossible for a student with a 3.0 GPA and a middle class income to get the necessary financial aid to go to a university without the daunting student loans afterwards. I would like you to address this issue with maturity and help prevent colleges from increasing their prices every year.

While researching how college rates have increased, I discovered a Huffington post article comment on the issue with the statistic that college tuition has increased 1,120% since 1978. The price of college has increased gradually throughout the years, creating an unequal environment for applicants. This is significant because it will only get more expensive, which creates a higher need for students to receive financial aid from anywhere possible. More students are requesting loans from the government to help pay for their education.

Student loans for high school graduates has reached an alarming high; Approximately two thirds of college students leave with an average of $20,000 in debt, according to Jennifer Hutchison of MH Learning Solutions. Federal and state financial aid without loans only goes to low income families, instead of being shared equally between the classes. The middle class suffers from this situation because they get student loans for many years afterwards and don’t receive the financial aid they may need to go to college. For example, as a student in a middle class household, I receive no discounts on lunches or SAT/ACT testing; this is difficult because both of these necessities are a drain on my parents' income.

High school seniors are going on college tours every weekend trying to find the right college for them, not realizing that these universities are selling a product; education. Colleges, as a business, have been “outpacing inflation for years”, according to Beth Dumbould’s article called “College Cost Breakdown: Why College is So Expensive”. This means colleges raise their prices years before the economy is inflated to fit their prices, making college more expensive and financial aid more difficult to get. Unless given a guaranteed tuition rate for your years spent at one college, the price will steadily increase and create more and more student loans and debt; at Northern Arizona University, I am given proof that my tuition rate will not be raised if I stay at their university, which is reassuring, but not all universities do this.

The prices of college are ruining the economy, fresh college graduates give a majority of their paycheck to colleges, instead of bettering their lifestyle with a new apartment or gaining skill level in their profession. Fresh college graduates are incapable of becoming an active member of their community because they are busy working minimum wage jobs to pay off their college loans.

The government can help prevent fresh high school graduates from avoiding higher education by decreasing the amount of student loans. Most students pay their own way through college and financial aid should not be given to students based on their parents financial situation. If the proper laws were put in place for college tuition rates, the government could prevent colleges from outpacing inflation. We should provide more programs to make college look less daunting and more accessible to average students with a middle class income.


Alethia Q.

Yreka High School

English IV

12th grade students at Yreka High School.

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