Baxter H. Louisiana

The Cost of Opportunity

In today's society, a college education is a requirement for most jobs; however, the inflation of college tuition has created a massive financial burden for the lower and middle classes. Lowering college tuition across the board would allow students to be enriched without it costing an arm, a leg, and a loan that they may not pay off until they are fifty.

Dear President Trump:

While thousands of people are livid over the issues of immigration, the economy, and foreign affairs, they seem to not have the same strong feelings towards education reform. Our country considers education a right and not a privilege. Because of this, most jobs that pay above minimum wage require a college degree. As attendance at American universities increases, tuition does likewise. This significant inflation prompts many Americans from middle and lower-class homes to take out burdensome loans or to simply forgo higher education entirely. The exclusivity in college education restricts economic mobility and stands in direct violation of the American Dream.

The plight of American families with college-aged students may not seem like the largest concern to those who are not experiencing it. To them, there are two obvious solutions for those who cannot pay the high price of a better life: take out student loans or don’t go to college. The latter of these options seems appealing due to its lack of debt; however, jobs that require a college education have grown significantly more than those that do not; in fact, workers with some form of higher education accounted for 99% of job growth between 2010 and 2016 according to In addition, Georgetown University projects that 63% of jobs will require some sort of college degree by 2020. Graduates also earn on average $30,000 more annually than those with just a high school diploma and $500,000 more over their careers. Someone growing up in a lower-class family would be hard-pressed to climb the socioeconomic ladder without a university diploma.

For many Americans, the way to avoid the high price of tuition is to take out student loans. Although this may not seem like such a big deal since college graduates make more money than their diploma-less peers, the burden of loan payments is too much for many young adults to bear. The US Congress Joint Economic Committee reports that 60% of graduates have debts equal to 60% of their yearly salary. Those who cannot quickly pay off their loans accrue ridiculous amounts of interest over several years. Some debtors are projected to still be paying off their college educations until they are in their fifties. Due to compounding interest, these loans can eventually double in size if a student can only pay the minimum every month. Graduating from college is supposed to set you free into a world of opportunities. The high cost of tuition turns a young college graduate into the Ghost of Jacob Marley, forced to carry the chains of debt for what seems to be an eternity.

The government can and should lower the cost of public universities. Despite this, it has no control over private schools. Luckily, the principles of capitalism still apply to these schools. As the cost of public universities is reduced, more and more high-caliber students will be enticed by the prospect of receiving an education without breaking the bank. Even the most prestigious private institutions will be forced to lower their tuitions in order to maintain their own admissions standards.

In a country as historically progressive as the United States, the fact that someone can easily spend a quarter of a million dollars on four years of education is absurd. During my early high school years, I aspired to attend Harvard University; however, at a total cost of over $60,000 annually, Harvard’s ludicrously high tuition forced me to amend my plans. As an American citizen who is going to be applying to college soon, I ask that you reduce the inhibitory costs of higher education in our country. President Trump, it is your duty as the leader of the United States to see to it that our education system will produce a generation that is not shackled by the manacles of debt and can indeed “Make America Great Again.”


Baxter Heggie


Collins, Gail. "The Lows of Higher Ed." The New York Times [New York City], 14 Sept. 2012., Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.

"Is a College Education Worth It?", 27 Oct. 2016, Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.

Selingo, Jeffrey J. "Three Ways to Fix College Tuition Pricing." Washington Post [Washington, D.C.], Aug. 2016. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.