Dear Future President:
I am writing to you today because I am about to graduate from high school, and I am looking at colleges and the costs associated with attendance. My mom is currently a college student and is having a hard time with the tuition rates. We live in the “country,” where there are no in-district tuition rates for the college I plan to attend. So, because we are 15 miles out of range either way, the tuition rate is nearly doubled. The in-district rate is $96.50 per credit hour while the out-of-district rate is $159 per credit hour. Add in the extra cost of travel and fees for on-line courses at $40 per credit hour, and the cost increases dramatically. Future President, addressing the cost of higher education and some of the seemingly unfair costs for those who do not meet residency criteria should be a priority for your administration.
Consider all of the people who lost their jobs when the economy slowed; my mom is one of those people. She lost her job five months ago and is now back in school to update her skills so that she can be employable. She is being penalized not only for an economy that failed costing her her job, but also she is having to assume the cost of retraining. Retraining that would cost her less if she live 15 miles in another direction. Future President, you could work to help people like my mom and I. If rates are higher for out-of-district students, then the student aid based on FAFSA should be higher for those people. It’s not fair that just because we do not live close enough to these colleges that we have to pay more while the people who do live closer get the same amount of student aid based on their FAFSA ayet pay less tuition.
I feel that fixing this would help more people want to go to college and get a degree; or, it would at least give more people the opportunity to go to college. I have watched my mom struggle to get the gas money to get to school and find the extra money to pay for what student aid does not cover. To be honest, I think it should be one rate across the board, at least for those who live in the state of the college. Living in a world where more and more things are being done by computers, a college education is getting more and more important. And with rates hiking more and more, it's getting harder and harder to do.
As the next president, you have the power to make reducing the cost of higher education a priority so that more people get their education after high school. Reducing tuition costs and eliminating the practice of using residency as a basis for tuition rates for in-state students would be a quick and easy start.