In the past thirty years, college tuition costs have been quickly increasing and it is over two and a half times as much as the average cost in 1988 (Martin). As of 2016, approximately 69.7% of high school graduates went on to receive a secondary education (Norris). There areapproximately twenty million students in college and they have accumulated over one trillion dollars in student loan debt (Friedman). If colleges were to lower tuition rates, then student attendance would rise, the unemployment rate would decrease, there would be more opportunities for the lower class, and more people would be able to live happy and successful lives. Colleges believe that by raising tuition costs they are better able to afford more faculty members and newer facilities (Harriman). A large number of colleges also raise tuition costs because they associate high costs with high quality (Harriman).
Although high costs can result in higher quality, there are also colleges with lower tuition costs that still offer an excellent education. Many colleges raise tuition costs yearly so they can build new prestigious buildings, which will attract more students (Harriman). Even though the students are attracted to the newer facilities, it should not be more important than the education they receive. Although the faculty and newer facilities do attract more prospective students, these students are unable to attend these colleges because of the high cost. Since 2010, there has been a major decline in college attendance because of lower- income families not being able to afford the high college tuition costs (Anderson). Many lower-income high school students find it difficult to receive enough financial aid to make the high cost of college tuition not such a burden. In recent years, the gap between the lower and upper classes has become more apparent and is making it even harder for many families to afford the high cost of tuition (Khadaroo).
This increasing gap between the social classes makes it difficult for many families to find a common ground of affordability for college tuition. Lower-income students do not want to take out large loans because they know they will have high-interest rates, which will further their student debt (Brown). Most lower-income students would likely take a much longer time to repay their loans, which would accumulate high interest on top of the already high tuition costs. Many low-income students do not have the resources to find sufficient financial aid, which leads them to not receive a college education (Levy). Those who come from the working class usually do not know about or have access to financial advisors to help in the search for tuition aid. If colleges lowered tuition costs, it could get rid of additional barriers that keep low-income students from attending college.
According to an article by CBS News, College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015 (Workers with no college degree fall further behind than ever). In other words, CBS News believes that high graduates are making significantly less money because they are only able to obtain minimum wage jobs. Since many low-income students cannot afford college, they are also kept from obtaining well-paid jobs. They are left in a constant cycle of struggles because of their inability to afford higher education. Approximately one-third of high school graduates are unemployed and are struggling to find work (Workers with no college degree fall further behind than ever). The demand for educated workers has increased dramatically in recent years, so the ability to find jobs for high school graduates continues to be a large issue (Workers with no college degree fall further behind than ever). The inability of lower-income students to attend college and acquire a job continues to further the national unemployment rate. Students who do not attend college usually are only able to obtain minimum wage jobs.
This makes it difficult for them to provide for their families and pay their bills. Students with a bachelor’s degree make almost twice as much as high school graduates (Weekly Earnings by Educational Attainment in First Quarter 2016). The low wages that these students receive stop them from achieving social mobility. Those who are not able to attend college have to make many sacrifices because they are living paycheck to paycheck (Jarvie). Many underpaid students with only a high school diploma usually have multiple minimum wage jobs so that they are able to care for their families (Jarvie). High school graduates tend to endure a large toll on both their mental and physical health when they have multiple jobs. Some lower class citizens even have to sell their plasma weekly so that they can pay their bills on time (Jarvie). Citizens should not have to make such large sacrifices to support and provide for their families. Citizens who have multiple jobs and have to find other ways to make a living miss out on many opportunities that life has to offer. A main thing that they miss out on is valuable family time that most college graduates get to enjoy.
The low-income students that are unable to attend college miss out on a variety of opportunities available to them. The students that do not go away to college do not get the opportunity to be more independent and live on their own (Attending College: What It’s All About and Why It Matters). These students miss out on exploring the many career choices that colleges have to offer (Attending College: What It’s All About and Why It Matters). When students attend college they are able to find new passions and learn more about themselves. Attending college allows students to mature and learn how to be a good contributing citizen in society. Attending college also gives citizens the opportunity to live happier and healthier lives. According to HuffPost, …college graduates are nearly four times less likely than high school graduates to smoke, and are significantly more likely to exercise (Merisotis). In other words, Merisotis believes that college graduates are more content with their lives and value it. Another reason that college graduates are healthier is that they have better access to healthcare (Education: It Matters More to Health than Ever Before).
Citizens with college degrees can obtain higher paying jobs that include benefits such as healthcare. Those who only have a high school diploma tend to have multiple jobs and do not have time for self-care. College graduates are usually able to make time in their lives to work out weekly and make healthier meals than those with only a high school diploma (Education: It Matters More to Health than Ever Before). People who are able to attend college can lead a more successful and healthy lifestyle. With more affordable colleges, high school graduates would have the opportunity to extend their education and ensure themselves happier and healthier lives.
The benefits of reducing college tuition would include higher college attendance rates among the lower class, a decrease in the national unemployment rate, better opportunities for lower class citizens, and the ability for the working class to live healthy and prosperous lives. The recent surge in the college tuition rates makes it extremely difficult for many people to further their education and secure well-paying jobs. Students who are able to acquire a college degree are also more likely to find an occupation that they are passionate about and live a happier life. For the conservation of social mobility and equality of opportunity, it is imperative that society as a whole slows down the exponential growth of college tuition.
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