Maryam G. North Carolina

The U.S. Cost of College Education is Rising

With rising costs of tertiary education in the U.S., the economy is weakened nationally and internationally.

303 Ashe Ave

Raleigh, NC 27606

October 24,2016

After four years of college, the average American has more than $30,000 in debt, according to "Student Loan Debt Expectations: Myth Vs. Reality," a U.S.NEWS article published on October 4, 2014. The same article stated that most Americans do not fully pay off their debt until between 11 and 21 years after graduating. This is the reason many Americans choose not to receive higher education. Many more occupations requiring college education are opening up, but with tuition prices increasing about $5,000 a year according to, there will not be enough college graduates to fill these positions (2016). The next president should care about this issue because if college tuition prices do not improve generations to come will be left uneducated and unable to support themselves.

Dear Future President,

My name is Maryam G. and I am a student at Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I am fortunate to be in a school that is an early college. Early college schools are one solution to the issue of rising college costs, and provide students with a maximum of two years of free college education. Why were early colleges not necessary before? In the year 1985, education prices were not an issue. Since 1985 college education prices have risen 500% according to the article "College Access and Affordability: USA Vs. The World" by (2016). On September 29, 2014, PBS Newshour reported that since 2011 the number of college attendees has dropped by nearly 1,000,000 people. The preposterous rise in college education prices has led to this decrease in college attendance. According to this has led the United States to drop from #1 to #12 in tertiary education (2016). In addition, the 2016 article by CNN Money, "Americans Are Moving to Europe for Free College Degrees," proclaimed that many American’s are moving to countries who provide free college education and deciding to stay so that their children can be afforded the same opportunities. Furthermore, The CIA World Factbook provides information that shows, compared to other education competitive countries, the United States has one of the worst public economies. This is a result of the high price of education (2015).

The United States of America used to be the country with the highest percentage of college attendants. Throughout the years, the U.S. has slipped through the ranks and is now number 12 according to (2016). It is highly debated what caused this, but according to most, it has to do with the skyrocketing education prices. In the 2014 article "Why Are Fewer People Going to College?” by PBS, it stated that many high school graduates are deciding not to go to college in order to have an income right after high school. They do not see the benefit of going to school for four years and leaving with a mountain of debt, as opposed to immediately joining the workforce. In addition, asserted that there has been a steep rise in college education prices and that the rise in household income is nowhere near equivalent (2016). If the average household were to pay for one year of college for one child, they would be spending about 58% of their income. This is the reason that in between 2012 and 2013, the highest college attendance drop off was in the lower and middle classes according to PBS (September 2014).  The 2016 article by, "College Access and Affordability: USA Vs. The World," showed that about 50% of people in the the poorest quarter of families did not go to college. If college was more affordable to the lower and middle classes our placing in tertiary education would rise.

More and more Americans are moving overseas to attend college and are staying there. In 2015, The Institute of International Education provided information that showed that even though the U.S. has more international students than national students overseas, the rate at which U.S. students are leaving is steeper than that of which foreign students are entering. In the 2016 article "Americans Are Moving to Europe for Free College Degrees" by CNN MONEY, three students tell their accounts of international studying and their goals. Chelsea Workman says compared to the $10,000 she would pay a year, without the expenses of room and board, she would now pay zero. She plans to stay in Germany because her other siblings have taken advantage of free college education and the entire family plans to stay. Hunter Newsome only pays $3,340 in tuition in Estonia. He says his parents encouraged him to go to Europe for the amazing opportunities. Hanna Remo, a student in the Netherlands, pays $8,780 in tuition. Although, this is nearly the same cost as American public colleges, she says she still wants to continue her education there and doesn’t plan on going back to the U.S. She says, “I disagree with the way a lot of things are run at home. It blows my mind that college is so expensive in the U.S, it makes me think that I don't want to raise a family there. Whether you are the child of a doctor, lawyer or garbage man, you will have the same opportunity and the same education here." Many students, such as Chelsea Workman, go to certain colleges because it's their cheapest option and still have to work to make ends meet. If college education prices are lowered, then many Americans will choose to stay here instead. We need these driven students and their future generation of children to boost our workforce and our economy.

The United States has dropped from #1 to #12 in tertiary education The 11 countries preceding the U.S in this statistic (see graph below, provided by have cheaper college costs, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development than the U.S. (2011). Some of these countries provide free, or nearly free college education to its students. According to the 2015 study by CIA World Factbook, ten out of eleven of these countries have lower percentages of their population below the poverty line. The exception belongs to Japan, whose cost of education, though lower, is nearly the same as the U.S.’s according to the OECD (2011). More than half of these countries have less public debt than the U.S. Many of the countries whose public debt is more than the U.S, still have high education prices compared to others according to OECD (2011). More than 1/3 of these countries have lower unemployment rates. Lastly, more than a fourth of these countries: South Korea, Russia, and Norway. have all aspects listed above better than the U.S. The same 2011 OECD study showed that South Korea’s price of education is 20% less than the U.S.’s, Russia’s is 50% less, and Norway’s is 100% less .

Education should not be a privilege, but it should be a right. It should not be just for the wealthy. If the college education prices do not lower, the disparity between the educated rich and poor will increase. With lowering education costs, the U.S. public economy will improve. Many Americans will choose to attain their education here and decide to work here. The rise in college education prices is a real issue that needs to be resolved. 

Other countries around the world who provide tertiary education to their students place more taxes on those who can afford it. It is no secret that many American millionaires find ways to evade taxes. If it was more strictly enforced that they had to pay taxes, their tax money could be used to provide education for those who cannot afford it. In addition, college pricing should be based on your income. The price of college education for the upper class shouldn’t be so extremely high as to be considered unfair, but there should be a difference in college pricing based on socioeconomic status to increase the availability for all. You, as president can make this change and educate the future.


Maryam G.

Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy

College Education Prices
Poem: Sonnet
Maryam G.

Education should not be up for sale.

Cost of schooling has steeply ascended

Making going to college quite a flail.

This has lead to a shocking percentage

Of a steep drop in college attendance,

Between the lower and middle classes.

People are terrified of dependance

Of loans and debt that come in great masses.

The U.S.,once the great nation leading

In the race of student education,

Now is in 12th place and still receding.

Student knowledge is in great cessation!

You need to promptly address this problem

For US ignorance is a blossom.              

Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy


Grade 8 Students in Karyn Gloden's 2017 ELA and SS classes

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