Should college break the bank?

DeAndrea Norman , Staff Writer

Just a few days ago I was reading an article published by The New York Times that said the average in-state public college tuition is almost $10,000 a year, with over 100 private colleges in the United States topping out at over $50,000 a year.

That same article also states that most college graduates graduate with not only a degree but about $24,000 dollars in debt, and Americans now owe more in student loans than in credit card bills. For those attending graduate school, medical school or pursing another degree, that number increases even more.

College costs for students continue to rise each year, making attending college for lower and middle income families more financially challenging than in previous decades.

While it’s true that most students are eligible for grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs, these only minimize or delay some of those costs. Any way you look at it, college is too expensive for most Americans, and yet the costs keep rising.

Everyone wants to be able to succeed in life and in their career choices. For most teenagers, entering college is our only option to having a successful career in our chosen fields. Choosing to go to college or a university is one of the biggest gambles you can take, and there is no guarantee once you earn your degree that you will find a job, let alone a job that will help you pay back the thousands of dollars of debt accumulated in college.

When applying for colleges, scholarships are never guaranteed because most have strict guidelines and criteria you must meet, and thousands of students are applying for them. So, the next option is student loans, most of which you do not have to pay back until after college.

We would all love scholarships or a free ride to college, but for most of us this does not happen.  With our current economy, institutions have to limit their scholarships and financial aid, which means we are taking on more debt than our parents and our grandparents in the hopes that we find our dream job after graduation.

Even though we spend thousands of dollars in tuition every year, dorm conditions are horrible; some students cannot even afford healthcare and most students feel unsafe on their campus at night.

America is supposed to be the land of opportunity and dreams. I think that anyone who is passionate enough to pursue a college education should have the opportunity to get one. Many students who cannot afford to take the gamble associated with college, are forced to find jobs that they are not passionate about simply because a college education is too expensive.

I obviously understand that we cannot make college free, but I do think college should be made more affordable so that everyone, regardless of their economic background, is able to pursue an education that could change their lives. A college degree is worth a million dollars more than a high school degree over a lifetime – I just wish that the cost wasn’t so high.