The cost of the next step

Asha-Lee Peterkin, Staff Writer

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Money, money, money. Seniors, I know that a lot of you are trying to figure out how you are going to pay for a spectacular prom outfit, but there is something more pressing that needs your financial attention that we need to discuss: college.

The cost of higher education is skyrocketing. Forbes’ finance writer Camilo Maldonado, acknowledges that student loans now make up the largest chunk of the U.S non-housing debt.

As a senior in high school this issue relates directly to my world.  Obtaining a college degree should not be this expensive. It would be nice enjoy the next four years of my life without the worry of how I will pay for my classes, both during my time in school and for many years afterward. Scholarships, grants, and loans do help but the problem is getting too big for these solutions.

Dan Caplinger from USA Today states that the cost of a four year private institution have out spaced the rate of inflation by more than 3 percentage points, an ongoing trend that is set to continue for decades. What this means, according to Caplinger, is that families cannot keep up with costs because their earnings are not matching the increase that these private colleges are adding.

This spring, the National Student Clearinghouse reported that there were 1.7 million fewer college students enrolled in U.S. colleges, both undergraduate and graduate, than back in 2011 – a decline of nine percent.

If the cost continues to increase at this rate, college will not survive in this economy in the same way. This is supported by Kevin Carey’s book The End of College where he writes about how the system is flawed in order to continue to give the powerful and privileged power and privilege. In one of his interviews with Terry Gross from NPR, he says, “colleges are expensive because they can be, because they want to be and because they were built to be that way.” What Carey is referring to here is greed. It is a combination of market power and wanting to always have more money to compete with other colleges for status.

The higher education system that Carey criticizes and that researchers continue to find flaws with conform to a way of thinking that allows the privileged and powerful to attend prestigious schools while the rest of the population is left to scramble and try to either find money or leverage their future to do the same thing. Something has to change for all of us so that college does not become something that only certain people can afford.

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