Jacqui B. New York

College is too expensive

Growing up, college is seen as a necessity that everyone does but somewhere along the line of our lives, the reality changed. College prices became inflated and students started to consider opting out of pursuing school.

Dear President:

My name is Jacqueline, I'm a sixteen year old student in my junior year of High School. Throughout the four quarters of my freshman year of high school, I had an overall 95 average and my sophomore year I had a 98 overall average. I am currently in a business class, an art class, advanced English, honors math, and honors Spanish and I am also taking chemistry and US history. I'm lobbying for a decrease in the cost of college tuition. Despite my academic achievements, I'm extremely limited on the colleges I can attend purely because on my financial status. I think it's incredibly unfortunate that many people in my age range are suffering the same battle because they were born into a situation they currently have no control over. These hard working students are trying insanely hard in high school and earning positive results but can't help but fear they can't succeed as much as others simply because of their inability to afford the expensive college tuition that we have today.

There's no disguising the fact that college tuition prices have increased astronomically. According to Bloomberg, "college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978" he also reports, “the rate of increase in college costs has been “four times faster than the increase in the consumer price index” (Huffington Post). This means that the increase in the cost of college tuition has been rising much steeper than anything else. There’s true logic behind the reasons as to why college fees have increased which is impossible to disguise. Adam Davidson decides to compare colleges to airlines or Starbucks in his article "Is College Tuition Really Too High?" He states, "first class and latte customers can be seduced into paying top dollar, but much of that revenue comes from people who can't afford the fancy stuff and just want a seat it coach or a cup of coffee" (Davidson). By saying this, he is admitting that there is a population who can afford the tuition which is why colleges can get away with charging such a high fine, however, he adds that the majority of the students paying can't afford to live lavishly. Additionally, Kevin Crockett, a consultant that helps colleges and universities set prices, states, "the higher the prices that schools charge, the more options they have in recruiting the exact student they want" (Davidson). This is because if colleges charge a lot, they have the ability to be a "home" to the upper class as well as the middle and lower class who are eligible for grants or scholarships. He goes on to say, "if everybody paid the same price no one would want to go... If an elite school like Harvard or Princeton insisted on admitting only students willing to pay the full freight, they would soon find they weren't so elite. Many of the best teachers would rather go elsewhere than stay in a gated, rich community. The most accomplished rich kids could be lured away to other schools by the prospect of studying with the best students and teachers. So, a school with the same high sticker price for everyone would be unlikely to have the attributes - high test scores, Nobel Prize-winning faculty, a lively culture - that drew national or international attention" (Davidson). By the author adding in this excerpt, it draws in the idea that colleges see it as an obligation to have a high price because the majority of students won't be paying the full amount. College tuition has also been on the rise because “schools hike tuition and fees to soak up the extra money made available for financial aid” (Forbes). Although it may seem simple and necessary in the eye of colleges, it's a serious problem to the general public. According to the Associated Press, "just between the years 2008 and 2010 average tuition at four-year public universities have increased 15 percent" (Huffington). This is an immense change in the value of colleges and is causing many problems for the public.

Although it is an undeniable fact that there is a reason as to why colleges have drastically increased their prices, there's no denying the devastating effects it leaves on both college students and alumni. As stated in New York Times Magazine, “the great national crisis is that the fact that too many young adults are not going to college or, if they do, don’t graduate, in large part because they can’t afford it (Davidson). This shows that college age citizens are opting or dropping out of pursuing college because of the steep price. This has a negative effect because with a lesser education you ultimately can’t make as much money. Additionally, Davidson mentions that “more than half of all new students at four-year schools won’t finish. But still they will be burdened with debt or will default, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.” This shows that even those who do decide to attend college often can’t finish because of the financial hardship. Despite them finishing early, however, they are still bombarded with debt to last them quite sometime. To expand on this idea, an article titled “Cost of College Degree in U.S. Has Increased 1120 Percent In 30 Years, Report Says” written in Huffington post has declared, "national student loan debt hits $1 trillion and some people are left wondering if college is even worth it anymore.” This shows that people question whether the monetary price tag of college is truly worth their education and experience.

This is most definitely a difficult problem with many solutions. Primarily, I believe that textbooks should be borrowed for free. I believe it is truly ridiculous that the “average textbook budget s $1200 a year now” (Davidson). This is an additional burden on students who are already paying for their education, food, room, etc. There is no reason why textbooks cost as much as they do especially because the majority of students do not keep them, they simply use them for the duration of a class. Additionally, I think the housing in college dorms should be less costly. In reference to an article published on SFGate, “depending on the school you attend and what the housing market is like in the area, renting an apartment can actually be cheaper than living in the dorms. You'll have to pay for your own groceries and extras such as cable TV or Internet access, but you could end up saving money in the long run” (Lake). In my opinion, dorming on campus should be the primary option for college students. I think that the school should make their housing plans more affordable than the options in the community because it encourages people to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them by the college they should be proud to attend. Ideally, I would like to ask you to propose a law decreasing the price of colleges or opening more doors to those who can’t afford it. We are the future and if we’re not receiving the education we deserve (because of the unaffordability of it), we won’t have the opportunity to truly grow as a nation.

I want to thank you for reading my letter and I hope you put into consideration the ideas I have proposed.



Sanford H. Calhoun H.S.

Ms. Finneran's U.S. History Class

Although the news on all the problems in the country can be depressing these days, the ideas of the students in my first period U.S. History class fill me with hope and optimism every morning. I love starting my day with them! They are a group of young people with passionate ideas and concern about the future. I am excited that they have this platform to share their ideas with you and hopefully our next president!

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