All Americans had equal opportunities to obtain a higher education, regardless of their class. But, the rising cost of college tuition has led to a national crisis. Bill Zimmerman says the reason for rising tuition costs at public universities is because of sharp cuts to the state budget. In order to preserve their status and reputation, elite private schools also increased their tuitions (Zimmerman, Why is College Education so Expensive?). This trend has caused a dramatic rise in college costs. It is causing a lot of problems for American students looking to pursue higher education. While many people believe education is a human right around the globe, it has become a privilege for the well-off in America.
Last year, I spent approximately $80 on each college application. In addition to the $80 I spent to take the SAT or ACT tests, which are required to be accepted to any of these schools, this totaled to about $1,000. For someone who is simply applying to schools, this might seem a steep price. These fees are a fraction of the cost of tuition at American colleges. They range from $30,000 up to $60,000 annually. It is also important to note that universities and colleges are increasing the cost of tuition and fees every single year. This problem continues to plague the current generation. My parents were able to and willingly paid for my education. Many Americans are not so fortunate. Many students can’t afford to spend this much money and are therefore prevented from attending higher education. Students are prevented from pursuing college by future debt. This creates a barrier to students being able to afford college. It’s a good thing that both universities and the government recognize that not all applicants are as fortunate as others. They offer aid to those who qualify. Many scholarships are available through high school, organization and website. Many universities offer merit scholarships that cover full-ride tuition for outstanding students. It is possible to pay for college by putting forth effort and searching for scholarships.
These options are not guaranteed to equal access to higher education for all Americans. Student loans, for example, have made it more difficult for students from low-income families to finance their education. This has led to crippling debt in the future. In fact, 58% of student loan debt was held by families with lower incomes in 2010 (Severns). Due to rising college tuition costs, student loans have become more popular. These loans basically guarantee that the student will not be able to borrow hundreds of thousands of additional dollars in the future.
Unfortunately, college tuition has gone up, as has the implied requirement for college education. A college degree is required for most jobs that pay decently. This makes it nearly mandatory for all students to pursue a higher education. American students pay a huge amount for college. They also don’t get guaranteed employment after graduation. This makes paying off loans even more challenging. This leads to a decrease in economic activity and eventually a national economic crisis. Students are less likely to spend on other things after graduation, such as houses, cars, and apartments. Their increased debt limit their consumption, which could otherwise spur economic growth.
The cost of college has been rising rapidly and is a major reason why some students are unable to attend colleges that match their intellectual potential. For example, schools with a high academic reputation are more expensive than community colleges. This is despite the fact that these elite universities are not accessible to all students. Potential students might be discouraged from enrolling in college because of the cost. Many students can’t afford college and end up denying themselves education. Another reason is that the cost of education may force students to choose a school which is not suitable for them intellectually, rather than one they could succeed in. This problem creates unequal opportunities and inherently benefits the rich, despite my conviction that every American should have the chance to obtain a higher education.
These student loans are often provided by the government. The current student loan program generated a profit for the government because the interest rate paid to borrowers exceeds federal government costs to fund the loans. (Nasiripour). It is no surprise that the government makes a profit off young Americans’ pursuits of higher education. This should not be a problem.
The solution isn’t obvious or simple. As the problem has grown more complex, it is difficult to find an easy solution. However, there are theoretical solutions that could be successful. Non-profit interest rates could be offered by banks to students. After all, banks already have a lot of money from student loan loans. This would require that borrowers pay the same rate the lender charges to borrow the money. This would reduce existing debt and give students enough time to repay the loan. This would reduce the profits that American students are making off them, who are simply trying to attend college. A higher quality, less-expensive education would benefit society and the economy.