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It’s becoming too expensive to gain higher education. High school graduates are finding themselves questioning if they should or even can attend college. The cost of attendance to colleges and universities is not decreasing but in fact, skyrocketing leaving college students and their parents with a ridiculous amount of debt. The longer a students career takes the more you have to pay as well. This is influencing students to pick majors in which they lack interest. At the same time resources are available to help pay for colleges like FAFSA, Hessa, scholarships, and loans.
However, these resources are not helping college students as much as they should.
It is very essential to know the full cost of attendance a student will encounter during their college duration. This includes books, fees, and supplies. Some may feel that alone some of these expenses are inexpensive but when you add them all together it turns out to be a pretty penny. According to UMBC the cost for in-state tuition per year is estimated to be 28,818 dollars for students who live on a campus.
Out of state tuition is 48,912 dollars. If you live off campus with a relative it is estimated to be 22,306 a year for in-state, out of state is 37,400 a year. Most students cannot afford to pay that cost of tuition and that is where resources like FAFSA, Hessa, loans, and scholarships come in.
Although, financial resources like FAFSA and others provide aide not everyone qualifies. Many college students and their parents are denied financial aid because they make too much money.
Therefore leaving them with no other alternative then applying for loans. Eligibility depends on income, cost of attendance for the school, and enrollment status. The issue to be with this system is the way they assume because a family makes around 100,000 a year they can pay for tuition themselves. Even though that family makes that much money it isn’t realistic because they have other expenses to pay other than schooling. Sadly those personal expenses aren’t considered.
Student loans are a way of helping college students who are not eligible for FAFSA but it isn’t much help when you have to pay it all back. CNBC estimated about 70% of college students graduate with a tremendous amount of loans. Also Over 44 million Americans collectively hold nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt ( Hess, Abigail, Here’s how much the average student loan borrower owes when they graduate). When a student loan borrower graduates they have an average of $37,172 in loans which is a $20,000 increase from 13 years ago. Instead of making easier for college students they are in debt. Even if the student stops attending they still have to pay all those loans back.
Another factor for providing aid is scholarships. So many ways a student could apply for scholarships are available. They can come from the school itself, high schools, and organizations. On the other hand, sometimes it is a hard process to gain them as well. Scholarships that are given from schools are usually academically based. For the students who struggle a bit more academically, those scholarships are out of reach for them. So what is left is essay scholarships or others that ask for parents income.
If any of these students were like me while I was in high school my counselor asked me to sign up for scholarships and I was denied because as soon as I inputted my parent’s income I was no longer eligible for that scholarship. This is a very sad thing to come across when attending college. The situation I am going through and went through is very relatable and common. What’s really upsetting is that most people who make “too much money” are middle class. Students who only have a single parent or make less than 30,000 a year are in desperate need for aid which is understandable but so are the students with two parents who have a little more. Students who receive a favoring amount of aid are left with little debt or none at all while other students are drowning.
Another aspect that is not taken into consideration is family expenses and students or parents needs or savings. Formulas that are used to calculate how much aid is received by the student leave out that important piece. While the government may think that a student has a certain amount of money to pay for their tuition and other miscellaneous expenses, in reality, all the money they seem to have is being used for things like bills, food shopping, and other necessities. At the end of all that spending, the family is barely left with enough to buy personal wants. So why is it that the government thinks college students and their parents are able to pay for college or university all on their own? Not taking into consideration all other expenses hurts the student applying for aid.
The aid that most students receive who’s parents make too much money is loans for no more than 5,500 dollars. This amount does not even cover one semester at a 4-year university because it is split in half for the year. Most 4 year colleges are around 30,000 dollars living off campus with parents. A semester would be estimated to be 15,000 dollars. Now if a student only received 5,500 in loans for the year this means they will only receive 2,750 dollars to use for a semester. To add on the government deducts a fee as well so the student will be receiving even less for the year. If you subtract the cost of one semester from the amount of aid they receive it totals to 12,250 dollars that the student still needs to pay. The amount left over is still a lot causing the student to take out more loans to pay for their tuition. Either way, these students are going to be paying for their college tuition on their own, loans aren’t much help. Loans give students time but also give students a great amount of debt.
To add on to the madness tuition is booming and loans pile up for many college students which eventually leads up to students dropping out, taking semesters off, or choosing not to attend a college or university at all. The stress of not being able to afford education takes a toll on young adults and anyone who is looking to attend a college. Instead of assisting and making students lives easier the cost of attendance and loans makes their troubles greater.
Ultimately the opportunity to aid policies for pell and middle-class students who are not Pell eligible need to be maximized. As the Washington Post explains, the proportion of freshman families earning between 50,000 to 90,000 a year has increased since 2012 to 13 % in 2016. With that said the percentage of freshmen from families making more than $150,000 fell 9 percent to about 40 percent of the incoming class ( Can the middle class afford college ). What’s alarming is that colleges and universities tend to say they do not have enough funds to help the low-income students and the middle-class students.
That is absurd because the issue is not that they cant help out both incomes some colleges just don’t want that big investment. Middle-class income students should be able to receive more aid. In 2015 former president Barack Obama attempted to end a tax benefit of college savings. With the intent to help out lower-income families he left the middle class with anger. The argument that parents who rely on 529’s are wealthy enough and do not need as much aid as the lower income is almost comical. Realistically no one can afford or “pay for college” unless you are extremely wealthy. Middle-class families are being turned away from and left to fend for themselves.
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