Opinion: Students like me shouldn’t have to base their future on the cost of college

The steep increase in the price of a college education has made it tough for students around the world to be able to follow their passions.

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) The University of Utah in Salt Lake City photographed on August 21, 2015.

As a high school student getting ready to apply for college next year, I find myself concerned about the high cost of college. It’s not just about tuition; even the fees for applying to colleges are adding up, making it harder for students to afford the education we need.

The steep increase in the price of a college education has made it tough for students around the world to be able to follow their passions. Pursuing degrees in fields like creative arts or liberal arts often feels risky because of the fear of taking on a massive amount of debt, with limited amount of financial freedom and gain after they graduate. This leads to a crossroad — having to choose between following passions and achieving financial security.

The large majority of college students, including Boone Stauffer, a student I spoke with at Denison College, believe that college prices should be lower. According to a study by the Princeton Review, 98% of families have expressed a need for financial aid to afford college education. Boone, like many others, confronted a challenging decision when opting for a liberal arts college in pursuit of a well-rounded education due to the substantial costs involved.

Boone’s story represents the challenges many students like him encounter. He understood the importance of a diverse education, but found it difficult to afford because of expensive tuition. This situation is a common struggle for students today.

According to Morning Consult Pro, 77% of U.S. adults believe that a college degree would be difficult for someone like them to afford, and ThinkImpact reports that approximately 38% of college students drop out because of finances. This widespread demand for cheaper education highlights a significant problem that needs attention. The cost of applying to colleges adds another layer of financial pressure. It’s not just about the tuition; the living expenses, books and even the process of applying is expensive. These extra costs limit the choices for students who can’t afford to explore many different options.

We also need to think about the financial side of college education. These high tuition fees don’t just affect students — they hurt our country’s economy, too. Student loan debt stops graduates from investing, starting businesses or even buying homes, with the number of young people that start companies steadily declining.

As I am planning to go to college soon, I worry about how this affects not only my generation but our country’s economic future.

I believe that the current cost of college is not sustainable. To fix this problem, we should consider new ideas. One idea is for the government to grant more money to colleges so that students and families don’t have to pay so much. This could be done by creating private-public partnerships to invest in higher education. We could also teach students more about money so they can make smart choices about their education.

The high cost of college is a big problem that affects many students. It limits our choices, hurts our creativity and risks our financial future. We need to do something about this issue by finding practical and smart solutions that make college affordable for everyone. Our future and our country’s economy depend on it.

Rohan Khakural

Rohan Khakural is a student at Hillcrest High School. He’s previously done work with BWE Events and took courses at Johns Hopkins CTY. Rohan plays a lot of tennis and basketball and has been a varsity singles player throughout high school. Rohan is also a contributor to school clubs and other activities, inside and outside of school. He loves to watch movies, hang out with friends, family, read and play sports.

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