Lauren C. Michigan

College Tuition

College tuition needs to be lowered.

Dear Mr./Mrs. President,

“If the cost of milk had risen as fast as the cost of college since 1980, a gallon would be $15”, according to Peter Welch, a State Representative of Vermont. College tuition is rising faster than the rate of inflation and there are lots of solutions to the problem. The country just needs the assistance of the President of the United States. Colleges are giving less effort than they are able to in order help students pay for school. We need your help to show them how much help is actually needed and how simple it can be to assist students across the nation. If it weren’t only college tuition rising, people would pay more attention. How would every citizen’s life be impacted if having to pay $15 for a gallon of milk was a reality?

College tuition should be lowered, and it’s as simple as that. There are few solutions, but the few can be very effective. The constant rise of college costs is becoming unbearable to citizens nationwide. There are helpful aid opportunities such as scholarships and student loans, but they aren’t as ideal as you might think. Scholarships are convenient and allow you to demonstrate your knowledge, but they’re limited. Often times, they will only help you pay for a small portion of your tuition. Student loans are a whole other beast. They are basically designed to push the burden of money on you to after you graduate. Many times, it looms over the heads of seniors trying to find their place in the world. It’s just as hard or harder to make those payments after college because you’ve become so independent. You have your own bills and rent to pay, on top of student loans. There are clear-cut ways to decrease college tuition and different routes you can take to lessen the blow that is the cost of college.

The obvious question here is: how can you possibly change college tuition without ruining any other part of society? There seems to be no wiggle room and it seems absolutely necessary to keep college operations successful. If you look deeper, you will find that it isn’t at all. Senator of Iowa, Charles E. Grassley states, “it was only fair to ask whether universities were doing enough for society, given that the value of their tax exemption, in the 2007 fiscal year, was more than $17 billion.” He cited a survey finding that in that year, universities earned an average return of 17.2% on their assets, but spent only 4.6%. First, why are they exempt from taxes? If they were taxed that $17 billion, we could put it all towards college tuition to students who need it. It doesn’t make sense for them to be exempt from taxes, if they don’t even use the money they don’t have to pay. It could make a huge difference in society if colleges begin being taxed. Then, that tax money could go straight to the cause of student financial aid. Second, why are they keeping so much money to themselves? They aren’t spending it, and it’s just sitting in some bank, while students are struggling without it. It only seems fair that they should spend at least some of it for the benefit of students in need. So, it seems it is possible to lower tuition, if universities begin to be taxed and/or they start using their return on assets to help students pay tuition.

I have a simple solution to the previous question. People want to lower college tuition, but universities have led us to believe it’s not possible. Janice Gams, associate director of public affairs for the College Board in New York City, says, “College tuition rates regularly increase at more than the rate of inflation because colleges are labor-intensive and technology-intensive and both are expensive.” Although this is true, she failed to mention that this wouldn’t be a main cause of the problem if universities spent a larger amount of their endowments on assisting students. Beyond the simple solution of the use of their endowments, there are more ways to go. Just doing fundraisers through university could open a door to a room full of help for students in financial need. One college in New Jersey has been able to raise $250,000 just from a contest to name a gym on campus. This shows just how easy it really is to get money for the students that really need it. If you just focus on the issue, it can be fixed with a little work.

In the end, colleges are keeping too much of their endowments to themselves, meanwhile tuition is rising faster than the rate of inflation. This needs to be fixed because if a student can’t pay their tuition, they simply won’t get the college education that they deserve. This causes many issues. For one, they could turn to illegal ways to acquire money, creating more stress for the government. They could become homeless and be without any money at all. Additionally, there will simply be less people with jobs of higher importance because people won’t have the education required. The country needs your help to lower college tuition and make sure people are getting the education they deserve.


Lauren C 

Clarkston Community Schools

4th Hour

ELA 10

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