Arne Duncan believes that “a postsecondary education is the ticket to economic success in America.” I agree. I think that post-secondary education is an important part of the path that builds our future. Attaining postsecondary education allows people to get the degrees to pursue careers that will help sustain their lives. Without a college education, it limits the chances of people being successful. As a senior that is soon to be a college student, I would like to address a major problem facing my fellow students which is college expenses. Each year, college tuition inflates to a higher amount and forces people to take out student loans to be able to attend college. I think everyone deserves a college education without having the burden of what they have to pay. Government should give more attention to this soaring problem because student debt and college costs are an essential issue that affects the way people live and affects the country’s economy enormously. I believe there are ways to tackle this problem which will enable people to get their ticket to economic success. I think as the President of this nation you have the power to give enough government support and funding to education that will make college affordable for everyone.
The government has decreased its support to post secondary education which makes college unaffordable for middle-class families. According to voanews.com, “For the past 30 years, college tuition has been increasing at twice the rate of inflation. Universities say decreasing financial support from state governments forces them to charge higher tuition.” (learningenglish.voanews) I feel like the government should be able to give enough funding to education so college tuition doesn’t rise to this level. On americanprogress.org it states that “As state investment in post secondary education has fallen and as tuition and student-loan debt have increased, the current generation has not been able to keep up with the gains in post secondary educational attainment achieved by many other countries.” (americanprogress.org) I think this tells us the effects of college costs for middle-class students. The government has decreased its investment in post-secondary education. People are worried about how they could pay their college tuition and as a result, some people think college is not an option anymore. I personally feel that college costs should never discourage anyone from going to college especially when they are determined to learn. I know that you are aware that a person who has a better education will result in a better job and a better life.
Student loan debt has become a big burden to college graduates. As college tuition increases, student loans become inevitable for most people who want to pursue their degrees. When they graduate, they will have an immense amount of college debt. As mentioned in Time.com, “The average debt at graduation has skyrocketed from $10,000 in 1993 to more than $35,000 in 2016. Furthermore, the federal government has set interest rates on student loans at twice the current market rate of other types of loans.” (time.com) Student loans are not an exception anymore but a must in order to get to college. Even if the students graduate, they are buried with a huge amount of debt that will take years to pay off and instead of buying things that will help the economy they are paying this debt. As a result, there will be no growth in the middle class earnings.
Furthermore, the country’s jobs demand their workers to have high level of knowledge, skills, and abilities which can be acquired through post secondary education. According to Americanprogress.org, “By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require bachelor’s or associate’s degrees or some other education beyond high school, particularly in the fastest growing occupations—science, technology, engineering, mathematics, health care, and community service.” (americanprogress.org) If post secondary education continues to be unreachable for people it will create a massive loss to our country’s economy. Why? Because if students are having financial problems getting their degrees, we will have a lack of employees or workers in these fast growing occupations which will hurt the economy. And if these people cannot get their degrees for these decent paying jobs, the chances of them being successful in life is low. Many people would end up in jobs that pay minimum wage and it could result in an increase of poverty in the nation.
Now, some people may argue that there are multiple sources of money from the government such as financial aid and scholarships to help cover the cost of college. However, I still think these supports from the government are not enough to help my fellow classmates to get their degrees. Also, the chances of getting scholarships for students who cannot afford college is also minimal. According to the College Board, “the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2015–2016 school year was $32,405 at private colleges, $9,410 for state residents at public colleges, and $23,893 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.” (collegedata.com) This shows what the average cost of tuition and fees are for attending college but the award that can be obtained in financial aid can only be so much. According to studentaid.ed.gov, “Amounts can change yearly. For the 2016–17 award year (July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017), the maximum award is $5,815.” (studentaid.ed.gov) Not only that, the amount you get will depend on your financial need, your cost of attendance, and your student status. Meaning not everybody is going to get the sufficient or maximum support from the government to pay for their college fees.
This issue is important to me and to my fellow students because each year college tuition keeps on rising which makes it hard for students to attain college degrees. College costs create a barrier that prevents students from attaining the demanded requirements to be successful in life. Some students are forced to get absurd student loans just to attend college. An idea that most people have come up with is to lower college costs and stop spending the nation’s budget on things we do not need. Lowering the cost of college will increase the nation’s college attainment rate and eventually will help circulate success in the economy. As a soon to be a college student, I hope Mr./Ms. President that you take the time to read this letter and make this issue an important part of what you do as President.
Geo Gabriel Jatap