Dear Next President,
The United States has 1.26 trillion dollars in student loan debt, from data received in 2012 by Student Loan Hero. There’s no doubt that this number has increased in the past 4 years, and most of that is because of the price of college. In an article by Forbes, in 2015 to 2016 college averages at $28,000 per year, at a public four year college. At this price, people might begin to wonder if college is really worth it and leading people to skip college entirely and enter straight into the workforce. I propose that the United States should increase grants for students entering college, to help them along and ease the amount of debt they have to take.
More grants are needed as the years go on because college costs are steadily rising and more jobs are requiring higher degrees. The higher the price of college, the more likely lower income families will skip college and have their kids enter straight into the workforce. While this might seem like a good idea at the time, shown by Khan Academy in 2011, even having a 4-year degree from college can nearly double the average amount of money you make in your lifetime. Although college isn’t just class and textbook fees, grants don’t cover all the expenses students face, making it even more important that they are able to pay for basic necessities themselves and take classes they need to graduate by using grants. While college is a worthwhile investment, it is expensive and should be given aid from the government to make college more affordable for lower and middle class families.
Pell Grants are a system set in place to help fund lower income families afford college during the beginning years. It was shown in a study by MPR Associates Inc., that students who received Pell Grants during their first few years of college got better grades on average than their counterparts who did not receive a grant during the first years of college. Pell Grants proved effective in the first few years of college, meaning that they should be provided with more funding to continue assisting students entering college. While Pell Grants are available to lower income families, it should also be available for families in the middle class who want to attend college but make too much to apply for other kinds of grants. In addition, more money should be put towards Pell Grants and other kinds of grants to help more people afford college.
Many colleges in Europe have free tuition, as said by Business Insider in 2015, that the reason for free tuition is because taxes are higher in Europe. Fewer people have been shown to go to college in Europe compared to college in America, which could also be why they can afford free tuition. While many people in the United States would rather keep the cost of college rather than raise taxes, we could provide more grants from the money used for loans and not have to increase taxes. With the money that is used for student loans, we could help many of the American students entering college fund their first few years, and make them more likely to continue school.
While Pell Grants are an excellent system and deserve to be continued, more money should be allocated to grants for students rather than to loans that are unlikely to be paid off, so more students are likely to continue college with their own money.