College affordability: Students need less burden
College is often regarded as one of the best times of your life. In your four – or maybe more – years on campus you will learn more than you ever have before in your life, find lifelong friends, maybe even a spouse and inevitably accumulate loads of debt.
There is no debating that societies fare much better when their populations are educated. But the debt racked up getting a college education is financially crippling to some.
Data published by College Board shows that the average cost of tuition for attending a public university for four years is roughly $32,405. Perhaps more staggering is the price of tuition at these universities has increased by $10,208 since 2000, and by $21,967 since 1980.
Obviously the U.S. dollar is worth less now than it was in 1980, but all of these figures have been adjusted according to the value of the dollar in 2015.
Now I am not under the impression that universities should be federally funded, making them tuition-free for all who attend. Free education to all would only diminish the overall value of college education for everyone who received it.
In order to have a beautiful campus, state of the art infrastructure and top-tier faculty, universities must receive large amounts of money. However, something must be done to ease the financial burden placed on the students.
Programs like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid offer grants and/or loans to students based off of a variety of factors. The application takes into account how much money you and your parents make per year and generates an offer based largely off of this information.
FAFSA essentially operates under the assumption that every student’s parents are the ones funding the education, which can make the divvying process somewhat unfair.
The first step to making college a more affordable institution should be to put in place a grant system that is performance based. Those who work the hardest in high school and college should not have to bear the burden of a lifetime of debt simply because FAFSA did not think they deserved grant money.
A report published by Bloomberg last week reveals the findings of a survey conducted online by Citizens Bank. The results show that 59 percent of millennials have “no idea” when or if they will ever pay off their student debt.
“The majority of millennials said they regret taking out as many loans as they did,” author Polly Mosendz said. “A third (of millennials) took it a step further, saying they wouldn’t have attended college at all had they known the extent of the costs in advance.”
With the cost of living steadily increasing, paying off college debt has become a difficult task. It seems unfair to students that they work hard for four years to earn a piece of paper that allows them to work hard the rest of their life to repay the money they used to earn the piece of paper.
Opinion columnist Reagan Earnst is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]