College. A privilege or a necessity? Alison Collins

Did you know that just in 2015 the average household income for the United States was $55,775? The average home in the United States costs around $188,900 now, that's a reachable price for the average family with a mortgage included. In 2016, the average yearly cost to attend a private nonprofit four year college was $45,365 and to attend public four year college (instate) was $20,092. Compare this to what life was like in 1974 when, " the median American family earned just under $13,000 a year. A new home could be had for $36,000, an average new car for $4,400. Attending a four-year private college cost around $2,000 a year: affordable, with some scrimping, to even median earners. As for public university, it was a bargain at $510 a year". Now if you do the math, the average cost to attend a private college in recent times takes about %81 of the average American's income and to attend a public college it takes about %37. Think about the bills that almost every family pays each month. A mortgage/ rent, phone, television, car payments, debt, insurance, etc. After paying these expenses do you think at the end of each year, the average family will have thousands of dollars to put away for a college fund? Or none the less be able to help their child significantly pay off the debt of college tuition each year? I think not.

In fact currently, the cost of college is not affordable for the average middle class family. A new report shows that as many as 95 percent of colleges are completely unaffordable. Is it really fair to put hard working class families at a disadvantage for an education that everyone deserves? The answer is no. It is unreasonable that in this day and age on average about 70% of high school student graduates go to college yet, the cost is absurd. A college degree has become recognized as a necessity for a possible good career in our society. If it is such a necessity why is it priced as if it is a privilege? It is just wrong. As a society together we must do our best to let each other thrive. And how can we do that if the cost of a necessary education is an extreme?

Now, imagine you are 20 year old in your sophomore year of college and you work very hard each day to pass your classes with flying colors. You already have enough on your mind with the constant struggle to get high grades. But for most students who aren't lucky enough to have their parents pay their entire tuition, the scary thought of being in serious debt is a constant lingering thought in their mind. Unfortunately, for Colleen, a student from the University of Louisville this isn't her imagination this is her reality. She says, "I am currently in my junior year of college. And I have this crippling anxiety of the student loans that have begun to cut off my oxygen and slowly suffocate me... They ask what your parent's income is, provide little scholarship money to alleviate the burden of tuition, and anticipate that you will have the check cut in time for a $50,000 school year". College tuition shouldn't be this high nor should it be stressing out students. Now some may disagree, they think your tuition should be high because it's paying for all these great things. Like sports, academics, etc, now that may be true but don't you think over $50,000 a year from each student is a stretch? If this cost continues to increase (which it will) , it could lead to the next financial crisis. And is that something we really want to risk going through again?

The government has loaned over 1 trillion dollars to the American people just for college tuition... do you see where this is going? This is a serious problem and our government has the power to fix it. Even as a community we can do a lot to change the system of college education. We can do our best to make our congress men and senators pass bills that make college affordable. Even here in New York our legislature has the power to do so, "The Governor's plan — which he's calling the "Excelsior Scholarship" — would make tuition free at State University of New York (SUNY) campuses, City University of New York (CUNY) campuses and two-year community colleges for students whose families earn less than $125,000 per year". This plan has the ability to help thousands of students get the education they deserve. As Colleen said in her article, "College education should be affordable. College education should be attainable. If we, as a society, want to recognize college education as a necessity then we need to stop treating it like a privilege", and I completely agree with her. Change to the college system is on its way and it's going to positively impact everyone in the near future.

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Created with images by tpsdave - "university of alabama tuscaloosa clark hall" • Tax Credits - "College"

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