Zoe Z. Michigan

Lowering the Cost of College

Many students are struggling to pay for college due to the increasing costs over the years. There are many easy methods we can use to help students pay tuition or pay off student loans, like Pay it Forward, the Tennessee Promise, or ConSern. When more students attend college and graduate, the future business world and the education of our nation will be impacted.

Dear Future President,

College is becoming more and more expensive every year. Textbooks, classes, and tuition all add to the cost. Many low-income families are struggling to send their child off to college because they can’t afford it. They often take out loans and spend the rest of their college years trying to pay it off. This is a concern of mine because I’m a sophomore in highschool, and in the next 4 years, I may be struggling with the same problem. But, there are many different methods we can take to increase affordability and make it easier to pay college tuition.

Many state leaders are taking different routes to expand college access for their students. Governor Haslam of Texas introduced a plan in february of 2014 called the Tennessee Promise. This plan promised a free two-year education at a community college or college of applied tech. “Through the Tennessee Promise, we are fighting the rising cost of higher education, and we are raising our expectations as a state,” he said. “We are committed to making a clear statement to families that education beyond high school is a priority.” The Tennessee Promise will make it much easier for local students when it comes to paying for college, or could even have an effect on their thoughts when deciding whether they should enroll or not. What they may not know is going to college can majorly impact the future business world and can even lead to new and improved jobs. There are other programs, such as Pay It Forward, which was approved by Mississippi, that are helping out incoming college students, but by offering years of community college without paying a cent, the Tennessee Promise is helping too.

ConSern is another program that can help families pay for college. It was organized by a consortium of universities and helps middle-class families pay college fees. ConSern makes long-term and low-cost loans to those with good credit that are struggling making the payments. “All of these students pay only the interest on their loans while in school, and can choose flexible terms for the balance, with up to 15 years to repay.” Instead of paying every cent before college enrollment and ending up in debt, students have time to pay, which makes it easier when paying the whole cost. This way, they can enjoy attending school without the stress of paying off all of their loans before they graduate. By giving out loans that are easy for many families and students to pay off, ConSern is taking a huge step in fighting the rising prices of college.

CUNY is a university that has adapted to lowering the cost of college, but in a very simple and convenient way. It has been the forefront of the movement to decrease the high school dropout rate ever since it released its Accelerated Study in Associated Programs at nine of its colleges in 2007. It offers financial resources and student support, which is why the graduation rate is double that of CUNY students who are not in the program. According to Ms. Linderman, dean of student success initiatives and executive director of the program, “the cost per degree is actually lower because so many more students graduate.” The support this program is giving has made graduation much easier and more accessible to many students. By an increasing graduation rate, more degrees can be given out, which can help many students pay for college or even steer past that obstacle. This simple method has had a major impact on the issue of paying college tuition, and it maybe the easiest method for colleges and universities to follow so that more high school students can afford an education beyond high school.

Some people think that lowering the cost will hurt the economy. If more students go to college, there may not be enough jobs for them to take after they graduate. But, having more students attend college can benefit the economy by creating more jobs that can lead to new technology, ideas, and inventions. Business leaders are constantly stressing about how important a higher education is for this reason. The many simple methods we can take to help lower the cost can help many students´ dreams come true about attending college, whether it´s a community college or a university. Different programs can help students pay off loans, which tends to be the most common problem. This is a very important issue to me, as I will be attending college in my near future. We can take a huge step forward in lowering the cost, which will have a huge impact on the education of our nation.

Sincerely, Zoe Zapalski