Tehamer Minnesota

College Tuition

Students should be provided with more ways to pay for college because the tuition is too high, loans and debt brings nothing but stress upon students, and the financial aid system isn't working.

Dear Future President,

There's a big problem in this country that needs to be fixed. The cost of college really overwhelms students and families. These students are just leaving high school and trying to set a good future for themselves. Instead of choosing a school that they want to go to, they focus more on the cost and decide based on that. These factors limit the choices of schools for students. College tuition should be reduced so students have more school choices that are affordable. The cost of college shouldn't be the main decision factor of where they decide to go.

The cost of college is rising at a rapid rate. In 1980, the average cost of college tuition and all fees like room and board at a four year postsecondary institution was $9,438. Now, the cost has went up to $23,872.(businessinsider.com) Private universities tend to cost more than public universities. Since 1995, the average tuition and fees at private national universities has increased by 179 percent. (collegexpress.com) Since the cost is so high, students hesitate to go to a private university. Also, going to college out of state costs more than going to a college in state. The tuition/fees at out of state universities that are public has increased by 226 percent since 1995. (usnews.com)

It's easy to say that college is one of the most stressful years of young people's lives. With students loans and debt added on to that, the amount of stress is crazy. In 2013, the total debt by former college students exceeded one trillion dollars. That is about six percent of the United States’ federal debt. (collegexpress.com) Also, this year, more than two-thirds of college students graduated with debt at an average of $35,000.(collegexpress.com) Since college tuition is rising over the years, so is debt and loans. If college tuition is lowered, so will the amount of debt, loans, and stress. A National Longitudinal Survey of Youth in 1997 showed that those who owed money for student loans had an increase in mental health symptoms signaling depression. (collegexpress.com) Student loans/debt is viewed as a way for students to go to college and pay for it when they graduate and start working. This system isn't helpful in any way. It cause stress and illnesses. It doesn't help students pay for college but delays the payment.

One resource that is provided to help students pay for college is financial aid. But the problem is, this system doesn't work. The total amount given nation wide to a student has risen by less than $2,000 over the decade. (usnews.com) But the price for a year at a public university risen by $6,000. (usnews.com) Although the average financial aid has risen, the tuition has risen more. The money doesn't help students pay for college because the tuition is rising faster than the aid. If tuition stayed at a low, consistent price, the money from financial aid will actually help students.

Another problem with financial aid is, where it goes. A researcher estimated that about $2.3 million in scholarships annually goes to students from the richest ten percent families. (usnews.com) These scholarships are not going to where it's really needed. Students that doesn't live in states that have a generous financial aid or are not smart enough to win admission to good schools are struggling because colleges and the governments have “unrealistic high expectations” of what they can afford. (usnews.com) This isn't fair because the government expects students to be extremely smart to get admission, while rich, decent students are getting the most help financially. If the government gave the money to students who need it more and students that are very smart considering their life conditions, more people will have a fair chance.

Many people deal with financial problems with college, including my cousin. He wanted to go to college but didn't know how to pay for it. He decided to start out at community college to pay less for basic classes. While he was attending community college, he got a job to earn money and pay for school. Having a job distracted him and made him think that college was too expensive to be possible. He stopped going to school and went with what seemed easier, working minimum wage. His struggle with affording college made him not go at all. This resulted in him working a job that doesn't pay as well as a college graduate could make. Moral of this story is, students can't afford college and it pushes them to settle for less. People try to find ways to pay for it by working, but end up quitting on their dream and sticking with a job.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Educating and investing in the youth is investing in the future. Having educated minds allows great change and improvements to happen to this country. Make college affordable because our future and youth depend on it.


Tehamer Melaku 

St. Paul Central High School

Approaching Analysis Hours 4 and 5

10 Quest 4th and 5th hour students

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