Lori S. California

The Crippling Cost of College and What You Can Do About It

The United States has the most expensive college tuition in the world. Student debt has tripled in the last 8 years, with the total amount of debt in 2012 adding up to almost one trillion dollars. Some students aspire to go to college but can't for financial reasons or poor grades. I believe these students deserve a second chance.

To the succeeding President of the United States of America,

Did you know the United States has the most expensive college tuition in the world averaging at about $30,000 per person? Other countries’ average tuition is significantly less, with England’s being £3,000 ($3,800) and Canada’s being $9,000. Did you also know that generally, students who have a college education have a bigger salary than students without a college education? A study from the US Department of Education shows that on average, a high school diploma with no college can earn about $30,000 annually, while an Associate's’ degree can earn around $7,000 more and a Master’s degree can earn $30,000 more. Simply put, a college education is necessary to acquire more money, and people need lots of money to get into a college in the first place. I believe that education should be easier for students to access and that an easier life shouldn't be as big of a financial obstacle as it is today.

Student loans can be a useful tool to assist students in accessing college and the concept behind it is not that bad at first glance. It has given many students the opportunity to get a better education so they can earn more money, however, it is flawed. Student loan debts have gotten out of hand, due to just the massive cost of tuition and interest rates that build up over the years. The New York Federal Reserve reports that student debt has tripled in the last 8 years, with the total amount of debt for the country in 2012 adding up to almost one trillion dollars. If a student loan debt is not paid in time the government has the right to take away some of your earnings, such as a tax refund, to help pay back those student loans, which can possibly leave you in an even bigger financial problem than you started with.

Scholarships can also be incredibly useful to make it through college, however not everyone who wants to go to college can qualify for a scholarship. Mark Kantrowitz, author of “Secrets to Winning a Scholarship” wrote that it’s rare for students to earn full scholarships or grants. In 2007, only 0.3% of students at a 4 year college obtained scholarships that fully funded their education. Scholarships do help students, but people who earn them can still be stuck in student debt because the scholarship only covers a some of the costs of tuition, supplies, and other necessities.

As students, our entire future is based off of the time in our lives when we’re the most foolish and careless, from ages 12 to 18. This is a time in our lives when we’re figuring out how we wish to see life and what we want to do with our future. There are students who behaved poorly during this time and have earned poor grades, but are working on improving themselves and wish to do their best in college, but can’t qualify for a scholarship because of their past grades. I even know a few people in my school right now who are clearly smart and talented that can a future ahead of them, but due to personal issues their transcripts don’t look that great. I believe that these students deserve a second chance.

My idea for a solution to help students get into college is to somewhat combine scholarships and student loans. More money from the taxes of the citizens could go to federal funding, and students can use this money to attend college. If they continue to earn poor grades and generally waste the funding given to them, then they would need to pay the government back. However if they strive and earn good grades, then the cost would be covered by the government and taxes. Not only would this ensure that the funding doesn’t go to waste, but it also encourages students to perform well.

In conclusion, I believe that everyone should have the chance to improve their future and education, and something as simple as student debt or bad grades shouldn’t hold them back from doing this. As a nation we should help lift people up as much as we can, because some of these young adults who need the resources to attend college could work in our own government someday.

Lori S.

New Technology High School

New Technology High School

American Studies

New Tech High's Junior class. This is a team taught US History and Literature class.

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