Dear Future President,
There are many topics of concern in the US today, but I feel that one of the most important is the cost of college. According to Bustle, “In 1975 the average cost of attending a public university was $7,833 (in 2015 dollars) including tuition, fees, and living expenses. Today the cost has more than doubled, climbing to $19,548” (Bustle). This creates a separation between the lower income and higher income families. People who don’t make as much money as others don’t get equal opportunities to education. According to the Wall Street Journal, of the students enrolled in a four-year college, only 54% are low-income while 84% are high-income (Wall Street Journal). The inability of low-income students to get a college degree puts them at a continuous disadvantage. It is unlikely they will ever find a well-paying job that allows them to eventually afford a college education for their children and help break this cycle. What this shows is that you have to be rich in order to have a good education. All good students should have the ability to go to college, regardless of income.
To offset high college prices, students turn to scholarships for assistance. They are a great way to help reduce the expense of going to school. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to cover a large portion of the cost. According to The Washington Post, only one in ten undergraduates receive about $2,800 a year (Washington Post). Even if you’re one of the lucky few to get a scholarship, it’s only covering about 10% of the cost, which is quite insignificant. Other statistics from The Washington Post that are disappointing include; only 19 percent with a 3.5 to 4.0 gpa receive money, 0.7 percent of athletes get a sports scholarship, and 13 percent of students with an SAT of 1,300-1,400 get an award. These reveal that your chances of getting anything meaningful are very unlikely. More students should be given scholarships and those scholarships should be much larger.
While many discuss how college is too expensive, Heather Long from Lifestyle has a different perspective. She states, “College education costs about the same as three economy-sized vehicles, or a third of a house in Texas, or six years of minimum wage salary. When you compare the cost of college versus what that money can buy, it really is a good bargain” (Lifestyle). She’s telling us that college isn’t that expensive and we’re actually getting a really good deal on it. Her point is that college costs should actually stay the same because college is a long-term investment. The cost is rather insignificant compared to the benefit you receive over time. What she is saying makes sense, but this expense is very difficult to pay up front or combine with other debt throughout life.
Overall, I feel that we should still have to pay for college, but not at the extremely high price. It’s not right that many families spend most of their lives paying off college loans. Students shouldn’t have to start off their lives buried in debt, like the class of 2016 where the average graduate owes $37,172 in loans (Student Loan Hero). Having more scholarships at a higher price would help reduce that burden. Hopefully we can make this happen in the future.
Junior at Avondale High School