Loans and tuition and debt, oh my!
College is one of the first thing on any high school student’s mind—especially at Northwood. But a high GPA and good test scores can only get you so far. The financial cost of higher education is often a bigger factor in students’ decisions than their own qualifications, and for a good reason—college is expensive. But the rate at which college tuition is rising is ridiculous. It has become increasingly difficult for students, even with the support of their families, to afford higher education, leaving many unable to pursue a degree.
For example, according to USA Today, USC increased its tuition by about $2,000 just this past year. That leaves its current $51,442 tuition fee at a whopping $20,000 more than the nationwide average for private colleges.
It makes sense that college tuition rates would rise with inflation, but according to CNBC, they have already surpassed that routine increase. Tuition fees are also rising faster than financial aid and family income rates, leaving students with no choice but to go far into debt or miss out on a good education.
Higher education is something that all students, no matter their ability to pay or their social status, should be able to access. By increasing college tuition, the only thing the colleges are doing is inhibiting lower income students from being able to get a better education and allowing those at the top to continue to take advantage of a system already tilted in their favor.
Sure, students can take out loans to help pay for their college tuition, but these loans often place an extremely heavy burden on them later on in life. In many cases, students are unable to pay off their debt until decades after finishing college. It is extremely unreasonable to force anyone to spend the rest of their lives constantly paying off old debts just because they wanted to go to college. So why would colleges want students up to their knees in debt?
Of course, the blame doesn’t only belong to colleges. Public colleges that rely on taxpayer funds are left with no other option than to raise tuition when they are hit with a decrease in state funding. This is where the government has to step in and allocate more money to make sure that these public colleges become more affordable for students.
Colleges have to start lowering their tuition and the government has to make sure that college isn’t unreasonably expensive. We no longer live in an era where education is a privilege only afforded to the wealthy. Get with the times, America, and let us have our education without the burden of crippling debt.