Elijah Armstrong Minnesota

The cost of college

The cost of college restricts many, but solving it proves to be a tricky situation

Dear President,

My name is Elijah, and I'm a 10th grader at Central High school and I believe the high cost of college restricts and limits the opportunities of lower income citizens, and even denies higher income students things because of the immense debt usually left from college. The most recent sources I could find state that college enrollment peaked in 2011. The cost of college has been an interesting issue for a while now, as outstanding student loans approach 1.2 trillion (Schoen, CNBC).

The problem is that nowadays, the total tuition for an in state four year college equals roughly 39,508 dollars on average. This doesn't include housing, and textbooks that can cost the student thousands more dollars. The way that college costs are rising, there could feasibly be less and less people with the opportunities for an education, which wouldn't help our economy. However, if college were to be free, taxes would increase immensely and taxpayers all over would be impacted (Patton, Forbes). There needs to be some sort of compromise soon. The New York Times states that since the 70s, tuitions at private universities are roughly three times as expensive, accounting for inflation.

The New York Times splits colleges into three main categories. Ivy league colleges, which accept usually two percent to 10 percent of applicants, then regional universities, and finally public/community colleges that who usually accept a much higher number of paying applicants. Although government subsidies are at a very high level right now, they haven’t been able to keep up with the increase in tuition, due in part to states lowering college funding, at an an average percentage of 25 percent, although some states have it much higher. However, this money isn’t going to nothing, as states fund college less, universities must rely more on the citizens to pay for them, as shown by the almost quadrupling in tuition, yet the mostly similar salaries of educators since the 1970’s (Campos, NY times).

Actually, tuition can be the most difficult for the middle class. The middle class doesn't have the high income of upper classes to pay tuition, but also don’t receive economic benefits like some lower income families when applying. This makes me worry for myself and for some of my friends, because as an aspiring artist/musician I plan to go to college and leave with the least amount of debt I can.

This problem applies to my father, who went to college to become an artist but had to quit because he didn’t have enough money to finish. Or it could be my grandfather, who loved technical drawing but quit high school to join the Navy. I admire both of them, because they have still accomplished great things. And I look up to my mother, because she just this year got a degree in art therapy. But now she will have to deal with the monetary aftereffects.

Examples such as these, coupled with the other facts in my letter have hopefully made you at least consider the problem of college cost, as I think that this college tuition problem will have to find a solution soon, or else big economic troubles could be ahead.


Elijah Armstrong

St. Paul Central High School

Approaching Analysis Hours 4 and 5

10 Quest 4th and 5th hour students

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