Dear Future President,
As a middle, almost high school student, college is a topic that is always looming in the back of my mind. What to major in, what would look good on applications, when to prepare for the SAT’s; but what many seem to skip over now, will they be able to afford college? The cost of college tuition has increased at a dramatic rate in the last couple years and it’s becoming nearly impossible for anyone to go to college without taking out loans. Paying back these loans is another story, leaving many in debt for the majority of their life. This sets off a spiral, family after family not being able to afford college for their children. If this issue remains untouched, colleges will become unaffordable for the whole population.
According to a Fox News Report in 2011 “College Costs have gone up 130% in the past 20 years.... For most families, income has not gone up”. The rising cost of college tuition would be justifiable if family incomes were rising at a similar rate. This way, in theory, college would stay affordable for most families. In reality, the average college tuition in 2014 was $13,860 and the median income was $51,058 (according to Tyler Kingkade of the Huffington Post). Adding on other college expenses leaves little wiggle room for most families financially. Two years later, college tuition costs about $30,000, and family income has slightly risen to $53,657, making college out of reach for even more.
Scholarships are a big help on many student’s journeys towards their dream job, but they aren’t available for all. In an article by Sue Shellenbarger in the Wall Street Journal it said, “Research by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, shows colleges and universities hand out more than nine times more money in academic merit scholarships than in athletic scholarship—$9.5 billion, compared with $1 billion for athletic scholarships”. So much money is being spent on Athletic Scholarships, and still, only the best of the best are lucky enough to grasp one. Academic Scholarships are even harder to get; less money is spent on them, less are given out. Large amounts of aspiring college students bank on their abilities to get them a scholarship, so they can afford their college dreams. Many are disappointed because they aren’t able to obtain a scholarship, and as a result, can’t afford school.
For families with many kids, college funding gets even harder. In my family, there will be two kids going to college at the same time, for six years. This means my parents will be paying two college tuitions, both way too expensive for their liking. If paying one college tuition is out of reach for the average family, imagine attempting to pay two, three, or more rounds in one year. According to Lindsey Lyon from US News, 80% of Americans Have at least one sibling. If so much of the population is affected by this, there needs to be a change before having siblings means no college for you.
Going to college is a big step in the right direction for a great life and career. These are the doctors, teachers, scientists, engineers, lawyers, accountants, who can’t afford college. The world is going to be in their hands eventually, do we want them to be educated well? Many bright students are skipping college because of costs and therefore not meeting the standards they could’ve if they went to a great college. I propose that you, Mr. or Ms. President, lower the costs of college tuition, and base the amount each aspiring student pays on their personal needs (Income, Siblings, etc). I hope this is a topic that is important to you as well, and I hope that you put forward a solution to solve it.