Katie B. Minnesota

College: the Key to the American Dream

Without college the American Dream is not accessible. As many Americans find college out of their price range the American Dream is being locked away.

Dear Future President,

Without a college education or skilled training it is difficult to get a good paying job, without this the American Dream is impossible. But the ticket to the American Dream comes at a high price, one that most students out of high school cannot afford, let alone working class adults trying to get a better career while supporting their families. This is why we as a nation have to come together to make college the ticket to the American Dream accessible to everyone.

The lives of high school graduates with and without a college degree or skilled training greatly differ. Their gap in salary affects the quality of their lives, for example where they live, what they eat, sometimes even the people they meet depend on your salary. As US News pointed out the pay gap between high school and college graduates is around $175,000 and rising. Not only is the pay tremendously less but it is becoming very difficult to get a job without a college education. For an increasing majority of employment opportunities a college education is required.

Not only does college benefit individuals but also the society as a whole. For example a Bureau of Justice reports that 74% of inmates in state prisons have not graduated high school, let alone college. The percent inmates with a college degree or higher made up the smallest group. This is not a coincidence, our country's crime rates would go down if everyone college was made available to everyone. If our country works hard to make college education accessible to everyone our society we will become better as a whole.

So what's standing between so many Americans and there dream? According to college data about $32,405 every year depending on whether or not you chose a public or private university. Regardless does this high and growing price tag make college the key to the American Dream fair and equal for everyone. Is the price of quality education in America having your diet consist of Ramen Noodles for the rest of your life? Seventy percent of college graduates will be getting to know Ramen Noodles very well over the next few years because they are in debt, at an average of $25,550. Our nation cannot let the price of college get in the way of an individual achieving the American Dream. Not only is the price of college holding back individual achievement but our economy as well. Our economy and society cannot improve if 70 percent of the 40 percent of college attendees that actually graduate are burdened with $25,550 in debt. Our country cannot can not improve when people are turning away from the education they deserve simply because of the price tag.

What can be done about this price tag? I don’t have all the answers, I’m not going to pretend I do either. Some people assume the younger generation is entitled asking for a free college education. They think we are exaggerating that going into debt is something you just do. THe Huffington Post reported on a young man Jason from Illinois he committed suicide because he could not pay his debts. His case unfortunately is not as rare as we like to assume. We cannot allow debt to cause Americans to lose all hope in their dreams. So no we aren’t exaggerating this is a serious problem that will not be fixed easily. We are well aware that college education doesn't grow on trees so I'm not going to suggest the government had out free college education like Oprah giving out new cars. We are not entitled for thinking that we could do something about an issue that is literally killing people! This is a pressing issue we won’t solve it overnight however the fear of not solving the problem cannot prevent us from trying. It cannot be ignored any longer. It is now your duty to work with America to solve this problem. It is your duty to replace our debts with hope.

Thank you

Katie Bauer

10th grade

South Saint Paul, MN

Henry Sibley High School


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