In today’s society, the idea of a college education has become less of an option and more of a necessary requirement and is commonly considered the only way to acquire a successful career and life. There are many careers, in which a college education is not technically necessary, that can often be just as or even more successful. With the cost of college tuition increasing with every passing year, the controversy of whether college is really worth the cost and burden is growing too. If our society wants to continue displaying a college education as somewhat of a necessity for success, I believe the cost of it should shift to being a more realistic price, suitable for the majority of students striving to go to college.
Most high school students feel pressure by not only the family, but also peers and teaching faculty to go to college because it’s “the smart thing to do”, but some may be hesitant to choose the college route because they believe their experiences will be different and the benefits of getting the job and making all their money back won’t apply to them. Economic research concludes that more students would gain from college rather than opting out from it, and choosing a different route. Yes, there are many careers that require little or no further education after high school that may be considered successful jobs, such as construction and more hands on jobs, but it is averaged that over a lifetime those who attend college make about $500,000 more than those who do not.
“Seven out of ten college seniors (71%) who graduated last year had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower. From 2008 to 2012 debt at graduation … increased an average rate of six percent each year.” (The Project of Student Debt). With all of the debts, not covered by either scholarships or financial aid, accumulated over the course of an individual’s schooling, the amount of additional money made becomes less substantial; if the tuition and fees were to decrease, the additional money made would not be as affected.
The costs to attend two of the leading universities in Oregon, University of Oregon and Oregon State, for four years averages at about $88,000, and that doesn’t even include everyday personal expenses. For non-residents that price is more than doubled that of a resident student. “In 1980, it cost an
average of about $56,000 (adjusting for inflation) to attend a university for four years. This figure includes tuition, fees, and the “opportunity cost,” or income one foregoes to attend school instead of holding a job. (This figure excludes room and board: one must eat and sleep whether she is in college or not.) In 2010, four years of college cost more than $82,000, a nearly 50 percent increase over that 30-year period.”(Brookings Institute). Sure there are many scholarships and financial aid a student is able to apply for, but with so many students applying for such scholarships, you’re chances of receiving them become slimmer.
A lot of scholarships also do not benefit students as a whole and either target minorities, athletes, or financial aid students. Community college is also a viable option for many, but is often looked down upon. You don’t often hear a high school student say “I want to go to a community college” or “I can’t wait to go to a community college” with loads of enthusiasm. Not only do students and their families look down upon going to a community college, but teachers as well think lesser of community colleges and often express their opinions out loud. This makes students look at community colleges as less of a viable option and more of a last option. When applying for jobs, it also looks a lot more prestigious when it is shown that one attended a university rather than a community college.
Although most colleges may not consider ways to lower the costs of college, there are many ways in which a lower tuition and overall price is possible. One direct contribution to the costs of schooling is the professor’s salary. Many college educators do not actually deserve the amount of money they make. Teachers should receive a salary that accurately reflects how affective the professor is at teaching. College fees also include unnecessary additions that are not required and could easily be taken off, such as gym memberships, recreation center memberships, and other additional bonuses that are not essential.
Also, although I’m a student-athlete as well, the amount of money given away in scholarships just to play sports at that school has become a bit ridiculous. If the amount of money for scholarships went back into the school directly, the cost of tuition would decrease, and the need for those said scholarships would decrease as well. It is apparent that student athletes are held to a higher regard than other students. Often, you see students that are all-state athletes that get decent grades receive more money and “special treatment” in comparison to a student that does not do related extra-curricular activities, yet gets exceedingly high grades. This is not fair in any way; the elimination or decrease of athletic scholarships given out would eliminate the inequality commonly displayed throughout colleges.
College tuition is at an outrageous high right now and is not showing many signs of decreasing. The costs of college and sending a student off to college have become much of a burden for many families across America. With how necessary getting a college education is considered, the cost of it all should shift to a more suitable price. The shift would be very difficult to achieve, and would be a very long process, but I do believe it is possible, not only for my generation, but the next several generations of students on the path to attend college.
Work Cited Page:
Greenstone, Michael, and Adam Looney. “Regardless of the Cost, College Still Matters.” The Brookings Institution. The Hamilton Project, 05 Oct. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .
“Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.” Cost of Attendance. University of Oregon, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .
“Financial Aid and Scholarships.” Cost of Attendance. Oregon State University, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .
“State by State Data.” Project on Student Debt:. The Project on Student Debt, 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .