After graduation, students tend to have very little money to their name, no job, and no idea what they want to do. Car insurance, rent, groceries, gas, and basic necessities are all expenses that post-graduate students struggle to come up with. Adding high tuition costs and student loans to these expenses can cause young adults to become stressed out and lost in their life. This situation is unfortunately common in a modern day college students life. College tuition costs should be reduced to help lower-class families, decrease dropout rates, and help students save money for their futures.
The most common reasoning for students and families wanting lower college tuition costs is to help the lower-class families. Typically, middle-class and low-income students miss the academic cut and have higher dropout rates, slower progress, and more debt. (Levitz) What seems like a simple solution would be loans and scholarships. The amount of scholarships available to students is immense, and with certain programs students may take out loans as well. For example, the PLUS loan is available to any creditworthy parent and can be used to cover all costs of attending an accredited school, including books and living expenses. However, the interest rate of this loan currently is at 6.79%. (Shea) Another borrowing option for paying for college is through a private student loan. These usually cost more than PLUS or home-based loans because they tend to have higher interest rates. After all, some families prefer them because the students rather than the parents are responsible for paying them off. (Shea)
Ideally, the first step to finding a college for you, is to determine what each school really costs. That price tag includes tuition, fees, room, and board–the charges for which you will receive a bill from the college–plus books, personal expenses, and travel. (Shea) Dropout rates, slower progress, and higher debt are all a result of lawmakers deciding to require full-tuition scholars to have a 3.7 average and an SAT score of at least 1,200, or a composite ACT score of 26. If you are in the lower-class, and not capable of getting a decent education, the laws have made it so it would be very difficult to get a scholarship. Ultimately, the future shape of state scholarships will be decided in one state legislative house after another, as more programs face financial stress. (Levitz)
According to federal data, only 10% of students attending highly selective colleges and universities come from families whose income ranks are in the bottom 40% of the national income scale. (College Tuition Costs) When it comes to the numbers, college tuition costs could be decreased and that could result in dropout rates decreasing as well. Defenders of college tuition costs say that a first-rate education is expensive; colleges have tried for many years to reduce spending, but higher education is inherently inefficient. (College Tuition Costs)
However, students who are considered lower-class should have the same resources and abilities to go to college as everybody else. The money that these universities do receive for tuition, fees, and board should go toward helping lower-income families get their children into college. Critics say that between 1995 and 2006, educational spending decreased at state and community colleges by 2.1% and 5.8%, respectively. During that same span, tuition at state schools increased by 29% and at community colleges by 18.1%. (College Tuition Costs)
However, even after students receive financial aid, the real cost for tuition plus fees, textbooks, and various living expenses to attend many community colleges would require low-income students to work more than 20 hours a week–a factor correlated with much higher dropout rates. (Khadaroo) Many families earning less than $30,000 are already living on debt to meet basic expenses. But in the 15 states with the highest percentage of such families, students would have to pay between 41 and 73 percent of family income to attend a four-year public non-doctoral university. It is also a serious problem for America’s whole economy, education researchers say. (Khadaroo)
Half of all college students never bother to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the first step toward getting any kind of scholarship. (Clark) This application, also known as FAFSA, determines how much money the government can sponsor per student. After working, borrowing is the second-most common way students and families fill college cost gaps. Nearly 70 percent of students now borrow, up from less than half a decade ago. And the size of the loan each student gets is rising fast. (Clark) In the past, a college education in the U.S. was seen as a mark of privilege. That was partially due to high tuition costs and to the fact that most jobs, which were primarily in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, required little academic training. (Value of a College Degree)
Twenty-two states now have prepaid college tuition plans, also known as a 529, according to the State College Savings Plan Network. (Bell) Over the last decade alone college tuition has gone up 50 percent. States benefit, both economically and socially, from an educated population. They spend about $61 billion annually on higher education and until now, there has not been a way to measure how well states have done to ensure that anyone who wants to go to college can and will succeed once there. (Bell)
School educational cost expenses ought to be lessened to enable lower class families have successful futures, diminish dropout rates in teens, and help graduates set aside some money for their prospects. 22 out of 50 states now have prepaid college tuition, which is a huge advancement to the ongoing struggle for college fees. College costs, including room, board, and textbooks cost a large amount, and then adding the tuition costs makes the price increase tremendously. In result to lawmakers changing the laws for full-scholar students to have certain requirements, students find it very difficult to obtain a scholarship.
Decreasing college tuition costs is important to the modern college experience because it will help low-income families pursue their dreams in their career choice. In order for a change to be made, students, parents, and families need to speak up for the money that they are spending for something that is expected of many students. If certain people do not agree that college tuition costs are on the rise for the wrong reasons, the consequences could result in arguments between both sides. Not only can lower-class families not afford a typical four-year university, but even some middle-class families do not have it in their budget to spend a large amount on college.
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