Michael R. Michigan

The Growing Price of a College Degree.

Why college tuition should be more affordable.

Dear President,

The price of a decent college education is growing and getting higher each year with no sign of slowing down. The ability to get a college education is something that can decide what someone does for the rest of their life and how much money they make. It is an important decision that makes a person rich or poor or somewhere in between. Therefore this decision should not be influenced by whether or not you can afford college or if you want to have debt for the next 30 years. It should be solely based on a person’s willingness and drive to continue their educational background and obtain a meaningful life experience.

A college education has always been something that is considered expensive. Even 20 years ago a student or maybe their parents would have to save up a few or so thousand dollars for each year they attended. As difficult a task as that might seem ,it is nothing compared to what the average student pays now. “A moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2015-2016 academic year averaged $24,061. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $47,061,” as stated on collegedata.com. This shows how expensive college can really be so how do we expect a teenager to pay for their own education. Without a proper savings plan like the MET, which allows families to put aside money for their child in the early stages of their life, college costs are essentially putting thousands of students each year in debt before they have even found a career. This potentially could make purchasing a home, opening up a credit card, or taking out a loan near impossible.

If there is a job that someone wants, they’re going to need to get a college degree in order to obtain that job or any decent paying job at all. According to investapedia.com, “Most workers with a college degree earn more than those without.” This is what we all know to be true, and this is why colleges can make their tuition and other expenses so high. People are forced to pay to get the degree necessary for what they want to do as a career. Not obtaining a college degree, even from a two year institution, could potentially cause one to settle for a minimum wage job. On the other hand, graduated professionals who have achieved a degree and moving into the workplace are struggling to pay their minimum loan payments, and in turn will fall deeper in debt before they make their first year’s salary. According to The Institute of College Access and Success, “Seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower. This represents a 4% increase from the average debt of 2014 graduates.” This is not even possible to pay most of the time, because once a student graduates from college they get a job and start at the bottom with a low income or a small base salary. In addition to this, they often have to pay for their house, heat, internet, tv, food, gas, and other household necessities. With this being said, it leaves new employees little if any funds leftover to pay their astronomical loan payments, that seem to continue to grow. This perpetuates the cycle, and forces new graduates to fall deeper and deeper in debt.

This is a problem that doesn't just affect the students and families that are trying to pay for their education. This also affects the businesses that are looking to hire qualified graduates who have a good understanding of the material necessary to be capable to contribute well to their business. They aren't going to be able to find the graduates they are looking for if no one can afford to go to college to get the training that is necessary. In addition to this, many professionals who have recently graduated from a two or four year institution, end up switching careers because they simply cannot afford to live on the wages they are paid. For example, first year teachers makes about $35,000 per year. According to the National Education Association, “ 50 percent of the teachers currently in our classrooms will either retire or leave the profession over the next five to seven years. The statistics for teacher turnover among new teachers are startling. Some 20 percent of all new hires leave the classroom within three years.” Part of this is simply because they cannot afford to make ends meet. Something needs to be done to prevent great employees, working their dream jobs, from quitting.

There are some who believe that paying for college tuition is an important part of funding for the school due to budget cuts in the field of education. People assume that if you’re paying an arm and leg for an education, than it’s probably worth it. However, at what cost? Others comment that if we made college free of cost, students would not take it seriously and could potentially cause overcrowding, which is completely understandable. If it was free, there could be a good possibility that students would go to college and not thrive to do their best because if they were to fail, it would not matter. However, furthering your education beyond high school needs to be more accessible. Students should not be paying loans until they’re of the age of retirement, it simply does not make sense.

As a result of what I have shown throughout this article I would hope that you have a understanding of why college can not be so expensive. It isn't fair that college degrees be limited to only those who can afford it. If college was even half the current price so many more students would have the opportunity to get the education they need. I could contribute to a society who needs more people who are ready and willing to take on the workplace and make a difference in our world. Just think...there could be the cure for cancer in the mind of a teen who wasn’t planning on attending college because of the cost.

Sincerely,

Michael Rottenberk, Michigan