Levi A. Indiana

High Cost of College Degree

A plea for help in lowering the skyrocketing cost of a college degree.

Dear President,

I’m writing this to you as a junior in high school. Junior year may not seem important since it’s not the first or last year of high school, but in my experience it’s the year when everyone realizes that “good enough” isn’t good enough. It’s the year when everyone realizes they should have done more: they should have done more community service, they should have joined more clubs, they should have run for more leadership positions. Do you know why they should have done more? They need scholarships. Very rarely will a student or their parents be able to pay their own way through college. Scholarships are the only way that the majority of students will be able to receive a higher education. The reason “good enough” isn’t good enough is that scholarships are only give to those students who have applied themselves and done all they can for their community. Good grades and a can-do attitude are not enough. If college tuitions were lower, students would not have to experience this major panic and they would be able to apply themselves more completely to their work.

In 1971, college tuition was nearly equivalent to 13 weeks of median household income. Today, tuition is nearly a year’s worth of median household income. This sharp rise in tuition cost has forced many aspiring college students to take out loans. As a result, nearly 71% of Bachelor’s Degree recipients graduate with debt, and the average student owes $35,000 in student loans. One of the major reasons that college tuitions are rising is that colleges are giving out more money in financial aid and therefore charging more to make up for it. If colleges would lower their tuitions, they would not need to give out as much financial aid. It seems counterproductive to increase tuition due to increased financial aid; the lower the tuition, the less financial aid is needed. Due to high college tuitions, graduates become so consumed by debt they cannot afford things such as houses or cars. The graduates have loans to repay, so they don’t have the time to wait for a job in their major and often take what they can find so that they don’t fall behind on loans. That’s right; college graduates cannot get jobs they enjoy even with a degree, as loans hold them back. Many students enroll in two-year colleges, as tuitions are lower and they can take out smaller loans. They choose to settle in order to live a comfortable life.

The fact that students have to drown in debt and delay their lives in order to better themselves and do what they love is atrocious and tuitions need to be lowered. I know that you cannot directly force colleges to lower tuitions. I only hope that this letter persuades you to help them see the error in their ways, or possibly to raise government funding for colleges so that they could lower their tuitions. If college tuitions were lowered, more students could go to college and could hold better jobs. There would be no shortage of doctors, of lawyers, of architects or engineers. We could better ourselves and better our country. With lower college tuitions, possibilities are endless.