I have been fortunate to be one of those students in higher education, in both undergraduate and now graduate school, who will not have loans to pay back when I graduate because of a variety of reasons. With the increasing costs to higher education which is now a nearly mandatory thing to get ahead in life, I feel for those that struggle with the skyrocketing tuition. I had a variety of jobs, in addition to the major help of my parents, so that the costs incurred during my studies would be comparatively low.
Over this past summer, there was much political debate about interest rates for student loans (POLITICO). The question was “How much should loans cost?” not “How much should college cost?” like it should have been. A few years ago, I thought that the traditional 4-year college was the only way to get ahead in life, but I have included other avenues such as vocational and technical schools. Nevertheless, I am more convinced than ever that the financial ability to pursue vocational, technical, or higher education schools should not be a determination in whether someone does actually go to school should not be a factor.
Education is a long-term investment that, unfortunately, politicians will not aggressively pursue. They will never be able to reap their rewards because it’ll be 20+ years before they receive a return on that investment. Now investment does not just mean financial, but at the very least it means a focus to do what is right for the students, no matter the political consequences. Right now, those thinking about life after high school have to weigh their financial ability before, during, and after school. We should not have to pick between different costs and loan terms first, then school fit last.
Education used to be a way to climb up the social ladder, but now, it seems to have already separated prospective applicants into a perpetuating cycle of haves and have-nots.
- Colleges Costs Increase While More Students Rely On Federal Aid (huffingtonpost.com)
- Must read article: College for free? America can afford it (tobiasbuckell.com)
- Education Is a right (fijitimes.com)
- Editorial: Beyond student loans, Washington must rein in college costs (newsday.com)
- Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal (rollingstone.com)
- Student Loan “Deal” Ensures That College Costs Will Continue to Rise (heritage.org)
- Who Should Go to College? (dianeravitch.net)
- The Student Loan Farce (themoderatevoice.com)