Cost of College Education in America

Research Question:

How can we make obtaining a college education affordable to all?

Preliminary Thesis:

Over the past decade, studies have shown that American college tuition has inflated so much, students are struggling to afford it. Why are college tuition costs rising so much and how do we fix this problem so that all Americans have an equal chance at furthering their education?

Introduction:

A: The price of obtaining a college education in America is soaring like never before. The average price of a single year at an in-state college is $9,970. Out of state students pay an even greater amount, averaging around $25,520, per year and does not include room and board. Private colleges can cost upwards of $53,000, per year. (CollegeData, 2019)

B: How does a high school graduate and/or their family(s) come up with tens of thousands of dollars for furthering one’s education at a university? Many of these students come from middle-class families and below financially, and cannot afford such costs upfront, spread out along the way, or even after graduation. Students are then faced with thousands of dollars in debt to pay for years after they graduate ultimately putting less money into the economy.

C: Why are college tuition costs rising so much and how do we fix this problem so that all Americans have an equal chance at furthering their education? The price of college tuition needs to be significantly decreased, however, not free.

Point One of Thesis: College costs are rising in America like never before.

“The average published tuition and fee price for full-time in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities is $10,440 in 2019-20, $230 (2.3% before adjusting for inflation) higher than it was in 2018-19.” (Baum, 2019, p.9)
Just in 1 year alone, prices went up 2.3 percent and this was before inflation. It might be a small increase but when this all adds up it’s an insane amount of money for students to be expected to pay.
Students should be able to focus more on their education and less on how they are going to afford to attend school, any school. The price of a college education in 2019 is outrageous. Period. With room and board, a meal plan, parking passes, activities, and other expenses the college might have, an in-state student will pay well over $10,000 a year to attend a university. After four years at a public university, they will have close to almost $50,000, likely in the form of a large and nagging student loan(s). Regardless of where furthering one’s education takes place, it is simply not acceptable for the average American teenager or their families to be burdened with such extreme costs for attending college.
Point Two of Thesis:

“Total U.S. student loan debt is $1.6 trillion, and 2018 college grads with loans owe $29,200 on average.” (Nykiel, 2019)
Should college be free? The answer is no. All students should be expected to pay something for their education to ensure they are taking the experience seriously. Outrageous, ridiculous, and overwhelming are all descriptors for this extreme educational expense. Every individual has the right to further their learning and to be better educated. Unfortunately, the cost of a college education is just not affordable for many people, making it an unattainable goal. This is a lose-lose situation, as college enrollment stays on the decline.
Perhaps, more opportunities for students to participate in work-studying programs could be a way for less fortunate students to help pay their way and help to lessen the costs for themselves and their families. Or, perhaps, more students will continue to decide college is just not cost-effective and leave that door to opportunity closed.
Conclusion:

Going to college should be a viable option for anyone in the world, really. If the deciding factor for someone to attend college is whether or not they can afford it then a true disservice has been committed. Education is a major key to success and restricting one’s ability to further their education can hinder their ambitions and cripple their desire for greatness. Is that really the underlying message we are supposed to interpret and accept? The children of today will be tomorrow’s leaders, so their success should be seen as a nation-wide investment, not what makes up such an astounding nation-wide (educational) debt. Striving to learn encourages one’s willingness to push towards the next level, and the next, and the next.
Educational accomplishments, especially, should be rewarded and not tarnished with burden decorated by dollars. There has to be a way for our country to find reform in its collegiate educational program and make it available and affordable for everyone. We do live in the land of opportunity, don’t we? If so, then, everyone should have an affordable opportunity to further their education.
References:

Nykiel, Teddy. “Total U.S. student loan debt is $1.6 trillion, and 2018 college grads with loans owe $29,200 on average.” Nykiel, Teddy. 2019 Student Loan Debt Statistics. Nerdwallet, 2019,

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/student-loans/student-loan-debt/

CollegeData. “The average price of a single year at an in-state college is $13,295.” What’s the Price Tag for a College Education? CollegeData, 2019.

https://www.collegedata.com/en/pay-your-way/college-sticker-shock/how-much-does-college-cost/whats-the-price-tag-for-a-college-education/

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