naomi k. Washington

Lower College Costs Can Boost Our Economy

College isn't affordable for many creating a continuous poverty cycle and limiting their opportunities to do great things for our nation.

Dear future President,

College is an essential key to living a healthy and successful lifestyle. Many people are incapable of going to college due to the high costs that come with it and increasing college enrollment can benefit our economy significantly. People with tremendous potential to do amazing things may not even be able to achieve the success they deserve because of a lack of financial resources and that hurts them and our country. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to attend college and earn the critical college degree they need, financially capable or not. Although the money that is brought in by college tuition is necessary for colleges to maintain a quality campus, enough teachers, extra opportunities for the students to do different activities, etc. the fact of the matter is people who can bring positive advancements to our economy aren’t receiving the education they need to do so and the government needs to change that.  Whether that takes a new law or a new rules for accreditation of the colleges, there needs to be a difference to create more of a opportunity to attend college.

Living off the salary from a minimum wage job can be very difficult and having a family, like most people do, can exacerbate the challenging living situation. Without a college degree, low paying jobs tend to be the only ones a high school diploma can get you. Not having the financial support needed can create a cycle of poverty. When someone doesn’t have enough money to go to college, they usually end up in a minimum wage job, have a family, have to pay for the day to day expenses, live in a poor household, and when their kids grow up they aren’t able to afford college. So the kids can’t get a degree and end up right where their parents were 20 years before. Many studies have been conducted to show the correlation between poverty and college enrollment and also just poverty itself. “A new report by the National Center for Children in Poverty found that 44 percent of the nation’s children live in low-income households (KCTS9).” Since there are so many children in low income households, the college enrollment rates can drop because people don't have the financial support. It’s alarming how many kids across the nation have the same restricted reality where money is tight causing them to be limited to what they can and can’t do. For example, attending college.

Getting a college education can help lower the criminal activity that takes place which can save the government a lot of money. ”Increased college graduation rates corresponds to a significant decrease in the crime rate. A 5% increase in the college graduation rate, for instance, produces an 18.7% reduction in the homicide rate (” This can create a safer environment for others and definitely benefit the people who are going to college and getting a degree. Having a safer environment is essential to building a successful and positively growing economy. All can be achieved with the financial help from the government in lowering college costs.

It is proven that going to college and getting a degree can better the health of people. Much like the decrease in crime, better health can save money in health care costs. “There is a well-known, large, and persistent association between education and health. This has been observed in many countries and time periods, and for a wide variety of health measures. The differences between the more and the less educated are significant: in 1999, the age-adjusted mortality rate of high school dropouts ages 25 to 64 was more than twice as large as the mortality rate of those with some college(The National Bureau of Economic Research).” This research shows that because people were more educated, they lived longer and healthier. That is just another benefit that comes with receiving an education further than just high school, and someone who isn’t able to go to college will not get those advantages. Being healthier is all around better for you and can positively affect people around you.

The government has so much to gain from making college a legitimate option without the question of “Can I pay for it?” Lowering the cost of college can lead to more people attending college which increases the college graduation rate and that has so many positive outcomes. From putting a stop to the poverty cycle America faces, to decreasing crime rates, even to bettering people’s health, college is one of the best opportunities one can have and I think no one should be excluded from that because of their lack of financial support. It's up to the government or school boards how they make college more affordable for this upcoming generation and there are many ways to do so. There are too many benefits of increasing college enrollment rates to not make a change so that can happen.


Naomi K.

West Seattle High School

3rd Period LA9H

Hopkins Honors Intro to Literature & Composition

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