Maleree F. Indiana

The Harsh Reality of College Expenses

A look at how the high cost of college education is impossible for most families.

Dear Future President,

It is often so easy to doubt the knowledge of the leader of our country. I’m sure you’ve experienced it first hand, considering we all have witnessed it. I am not here to preach to the choir, I am confident in your knowledge of the issues of this country. However I am here to tell you from my perspective of the issue. I come from a low income family, so I have experienced this problem first hand. Growing up in poverty, I have seen my single mother struggle every single day to barely pay our monthly bills. I have been thrown around and kicked out of numerous rental houses because my mom was unable to gather enough money up to afford the monthly expenses. My mother was frequently faced with the choice of paying for our groceries or paying our electricity bill. I’ve experienced many days in the dark, taking cold showers, and hot summer days with no air conditioning. Because of my background, college has always seemed like such a far stretch for me. I was always under the impression that college was for students whose parents could afford to send them. In middle school I was exposed to my state’s incredible program, the 21st Century Scholarship. This scholarship is going to be the change in my life, literally my ticket out of the all too familiar poverty I have experienced. Although I have this opportunity to have a full ride scholarship, I frequently ponder how things would be different if I weren’t a resident of Indiana with the 21st Century Scholars program. I question how other students in my situation without the scholarship are able to attend college. College costs are rapidly increasing, and it makes me wonder if that is also the reason why our nation’s poverty level hasn’t slowed down either.

The cost for a 4 year university in 1983 was $3,433. This included everything from tuition fees, books, and housing. The average income in 1983 was $15,239; this means that college cost 22% of the income in 1983. In 2013 the cost for a 4 year university was $18,110. The average income in 2013 was $44,888; resulting in college fees being 40% of the income in 2013. This statistic alone proves that college fees have not solely increased because of inflation. It is important that the United States of America is an educated nation, because after all, education is something that can never be taken away from us. High school has always been provided free for everyone in the nation, because it used to be all that was needed to be successful. It is a new day and age and it is no longer possible to obtain a middle class salary without some sort of higher education.

My proposition for you would be to reevaluate our government’s budget plan to provide for better college rates. This plan has been proven successful in numerous places across the globe. If you were to take a look at Germany’s tax and budget plan to maintain an educated nation, you would be astounded. The vision seems so hard for many Americans to grasp, but I am confident you are capable of seeing the remarkable changes it could provide for our nation. The effects of this issue are insane. We are denying the very American citizens that need the education and salary to get out of poverty, that possibility by having such high college rates.

Thank you,