Abby N. Minnesota

The Cost of College Tuition

Around 20 million students attend college each year, which is about 68% of high school graduates. Why don't the other 32% attend? Most of it has to do with the fact that college is too expensive for some students to afford

Dear Future President,

I am in 8th grade, so college is still a long way away for me. But that doesn't mean that my parents haven't thought about it. Ever since I was a baby, they have been putting money away in my college savings account, but even after 19 years of savings, it still won't be enough to cover all of the costs. On top of that, I have 3 little siblings who (I hope) plan on attending college. That means that my parents have to pay for the costs of 4 college tuitions, plus any loans left over. How do you expect my family, and other middle and lower class families to afford that?

The cost of college needs to be lowered. On average college costs about $30,000-$40,000, depending if you go to a public or private college, or what kind of degree you want. But one thing is for certain, none of those options are cheap. An average middle class family makes around 100,000 dollars per year. If they wanted to send one of their kids to college, it would take 2-3 years of not spending money on anything to pay for one year of college. Most degrees require at least 4 years, if not more, which will only raise the cost. Not to mention if the family has more than one kid. According to the New York Times: "Tuition at a private university is now roughly three times as expensive as it was in 1974, costing an average of $31,000 a year; public tuition, at $9,000, has risen by nearly four times. This is a painful bill for all but the very richest. For the average American household that doesn’t receive a lot of financial aid, higher education is simply out of reach.” These statistics prove that a college education can put a huge financial burden on a middle class family. After four years of college, they have paid roughly around 120,000-130,000, most of it in loans which take several years to pay back. 

Secondly, around 51% of college graduates don't have a job relating to their major. This means that those graduates have paid around $100,000 for something they may not even use. And while they are working at these jobs, they are paying back the loans from an education, they aren’t really using. According to Careerbuilder: “Several months removed from spring graduation, the majority of Class of 2014 college graduates are currently working; however, about half (51 percent) of that group are in jobs that don’t require a degree, according to a new CareerBuilder survey. This includes 45 percent of 4-year degree graduates and 57 percent of associate degree graduates.”  This proves that college degrees aren’t necessarily everything. Sure, they may help you get a job, because you can say you graduated, but most of the time the job has nothing to do with the major. So why pay thousands of dollars, and put huge financial strain on your family for something you might not use?

This image shows how much college tuition has gone up in the past 30 years. If it keeps going up at this rate, college may become unaffordable.

On the other hand, I understand why college costs so much. For one thing, colleges need to pay to teach their students. In both public and private universities around 1/4 of college tuition money goes towards instruction, which include: classes, seminars, and lectures. These instructions are necessary to the students learning and without them, they wouldn't be able to get a degree. That money also goes towards other things benefiting the students such as: Housing, research, materials, professors, student services, and much more. But even though universities need money, college shouldn’t cost $100,000 dollars. 

These two images show what college tuition fees go towards in both both private and public universities.

I believe that the Future President should require colleges to lower tuition, or at least lower the costs of books, dorming, etc. For example, students could borrow their textbooks instead of buying them because in four years they will no longer need them. Universities could also give students options to earn stable, decent-paying jobs while still in college. That way the students could begin to payback their loans. Lowering the cost of college tuition will help the United Nations with Global Goal #4, Quality Education. By lowering college tuition costs more middle and lower class families will be able to send their kids to college. This is a priority because 30% of college students drop out every year, partly because of the costs. By lowering the costs of college tuition, the dropout rate will lower. More students will receive a degree which will possibly help them get a job later in life. College tuition is a problem that will only become bigger if somebody doesn't take a stand. If tuition costs keep going up at the rate it has been for the last couple of years, by the year 2025 college will cost around 64,000 per year. This will ultimately be just too much for almost all middle and lower class families to afford, leaving 2/3 of high school graduates without a college education. Is that what you want?


Abby N.

Chaska Middle School East

Mrs. Johnson's 8th Grade Global Studies

Global Studies class letters connecting national issues to the UN's Global Goals.

All letters from this group →