Tuition’s Too High


Casey Lanza-Lang, Staff Writer

This year at Ludlow High School there are over 200 seniors trying to decide what they want to do when they step out of the building for the last time. They could go to work, they could enlist in the military, they could enter a trade school, or they could choose the most popular option among seniors in the Millennial Generation: they could go to college. There are two-year colleges, four-year colleges, state colleges, and Ivy League colleges, giving every student a plethora of options for further studies. However, whether we like it or not, with college, comes overbearing costs.

It’s no secret that many parents have anticipated the price of college tuition since the day we were born. We’ve been told day-in and day-out since middle school that we have to go to college in order to succeed. We’re told that in order to make a decent income, and thus, a decent life for ourselves, we have to get a higher education. To prepare for the hefty price tags that many colleges come with, some parents may have even opened up separate savings accounts and loans just to offset our future debts. When college is so expensive that parents and students alike both have to take steps that would normally be taken to purchase a home or a car to pay for it, I think it is safe to say that college tuition is much too expensive.

Unless students are looking at community colleges where the yearly tuition and book fees amount to around $5,000 a year, they should be prepared to pay a hefty fee. Most private (and some state) colleges range from $15,000-$35,000 a year. Say you go to a college that’s right in the middle at about $25,000 a year. Now say you decide to earn your bachelor’s degree. This usually takes about four years to complete. Four years at about $25,000 a year is roughly $100,000 that you will owe to any given college you attend. For many schools, that doesn’t even include books or room and board. What if you decide to obtain a master’s degree? That’s two more years at $25,000. In total, a master’s degree will cost you close to or even over $150,000. That could buy you a small house or, half of a relatively large house, depending on where you want to live. This is not okay.

We should not pay any colleges that much money just to have them hand us a piece of paper that says we have a degree. We shouldn’t trust that these degrees that they’re handing out to us will guarantee us a job. We shouldn’t trust that the job that we might be lucky enough to be hired for will provide us with enough money to pay for a home (or apartment), a car, heating/air conditioning, water, cable, communication (mobile phones), food, and anything else that we might need on a day to day basis. The extra money that you make at the job that you earned a degree for will likely go straight to your loans. The only way to avoid this is by going to a community college because of how much cheaper they are. The downfall here, is how the degree looks to an employer. Many employers see a degree from a certain college or university and instantly form an opinion. If an employer has two people applying for a job and one has a degree from a state school and another has a degree from an Ivy League or a prestigious private school, it is almost guaranteed the Ivy League or private school graduate will get the job. Private and more expensive schools are revered as better schools because of their status. Many employers (not necessarily all) prefer to see these types of schools because they have better reputations. This limits graduates who come from certain schools. If they can’t get jobs, they can’t pay back their loans. Thus, the only way to solve this problem of overpriced college tuitions, is to fight to get the prices changed.

If we can’t lower tuitions, we will live a lifetime of debt and we will doom our children to a lifetime of debt. When young adults are leaving college with a loans that rival a loan for a house, it’s absolutely absurd. Whether it be a national or state government action or a private college-by-college action, tuitions need to be lowered. It’s not that we should pay more taxes, but somehow, somewhere, we need to find a way to either fund public colleges to lower tuition or restrict them from charging so much. As Democrat Hillary Clinton proposes, we could lower interest rates on loans and have federal grants given to the states to help offset tuition prices. This would be paid for by limiting tax spending on wealthy tax spenders. Republican Marco Rubio says students should have investment loans where they work with private investors, paying a portion of their income to these investors for a certain number of years. Unlike regular loans, students would not be required to pay the entire cost back. Instead, they only pay for as long as they agreed to pay for. These plans could greatly benefit millions of students throughout the United States, myself and my peers included.

Rising tuitions are caused by multiple sources. A key source for the rise in tuition at public colleges and universities is the decreasing amount of state support. Another key factor in both public and private schools are the increasing costs of running a university or college, such as inflation of food prices, room and board, repairs, renovations, and other services. Although these are all valid reasons for increasing prices, it’s important that the entire cost of these does not fall on students. The plans proposed by Rubio and Clinton would be steps in the right direct towards lowering tuitions.

Students, graduating or not, and parents, wealthy or not, should not be forced to pay ridiculous fees just to further education and have a career that can truly be enjoyed and successful. Whether it’s the Millennial Generation or the next, we have to find a solution to this problem. We had to live through it, but our children shouldn’t have to. It’s important that we go to college, but it’s even more important that we aren’t robbed of a huge chunk of our funds for the experience. Hopefully the 200 seniors here at Ludlow High School can find a way to avoid this preposterous college expense, not only for themselves in the next few years, but also for their children many years to come.