College Is Unrealistically Expensive

College: the first time in your life when you have true freedom. You have the opportunity to live away from home, focus on yourself and experiment with your personality. These formative years are a staple in American tradition and attending a university is a requirement in some families.

But one problem has plagued American students recently. The cost of college has grown exponentially in the last 30 years. According to NPR, the cost of tuition has increased by 213 percent since the 1987-1988 school year. The median household income was $27,225 in 1988; when this is converted to 2018 dollars that is $57,788. The cost of tuition in 1988 for Harvard University was $7,142, adjusted is $15,160. This would make college easily affordable for students who wish to work and study as they would still have $32,628 left over every year after paying tuition to Harvard, the most expensive college at the time.

These numbers are completely different today.  The cost of tuition at the same school is $67,580 and the median household income in 2018 was $62,175. This makes college overwhelmingly expensive, leaving $-5,405 after paying tuition to Harvard for one semester. This is insane. You are required to apply for student loans in order to just pay your tuition for one semester.

Take my case, for example. My father makes over $80,000 a year which is considered the middle class. I go to a four-year public university that costs $33,000 a year. I have three other siblings, two of which are also attending college. My sister is attending a private four-year university for $23,000 and my oldest sister is attending a two-year community college for $15,000. Added up, that costs my father $71,000 a year for his daughters to attend college. Which leaves only $9,000 for the cost of living between him and my mother. This is unrealistic. To be able to afford college, my sisters and I each got out at least $10,000 a year to pay for college. The average parent in America has 2.4 children, or just to keep it simple, three children, meaning it is not unusual for parents to be paying two or more tuitions per year.

School needs to be more affordable. Countries all over the world such as Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany and France, have rebuilt their financial systems so that they can offer free higher education programs. It is easily feasible for America to do also.

Many politicians have made moves towards this change but get mocked in the process by other generations, saying they worked to pay their tuition. It is impossible for me to work for at least $40,000 a year to pay my tuition while also having $600 apartment and food. The minimum wage in America is $7.25. This means that I would have to work 106 hours per week just to barely make ends meet and that doesn't even take into account taxes which are approximately 30% of one's total income. There are 168 hours in a week and I have to sleep for at least 56 hours to be considered healthy. This leaves six hours for me to go to class, study and eat. That is impossible. My generation can simply not work their way through college.

Something needs to change before it is actually impossible to attend college even with parental assistance. Our youth should not instantly be in debt when they are just finishing their degrees. This gives them no feasible way to work out of their debt while also trying to make a life for themselves.

 

Contact your senators and politicians and demand change. We deserve a financially stable future just as our parents and grandparents had. Our children deserve it too. Stand up, fight back and make changes.

Photo credit: Audrey Ampomah