Making college more affordable is essential

By Ally Johnson

Fear and doubt are not rare side effects when deciding upon what to do with the future ahead; namely, which college to attend. In picking a school, students are faced not only with new people, new places and for some, culture shock, many are also dealing with the very real potential threat of financial debt.
In President Obama’s State of the Union address, he voiced his ideas to make college more affordable. His plans included doubling the number of federal work study program jobs over five years, a one-year extension of low interest rates on certain federal student loans and a permanent extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
President Obama has put forth an idea to expand the Perkins loan which helps low income students to $8 billion from the previous $1 billion. The plan would change the way it’s distributed so that it can reward schools that keep the tuition down and serve students in need. Obama has also proposed another $1 billion that would fund grant competition, and reward states that kept the college costs low. He encouraged schools to assist families in understanding financial aid packages so that they have a firm grasp on the situation they’re getting into.
Over recent years the increase in government help and lower loan costs has only made the entirety of university costs become greater. It’s eating away at the average individual who has graduated. In 2008, data showed that the cost of a year in a public institution accounted for 25 percent of where a middle class family’s income goes. This represents an 18 percent increase since 2000.
If this plan works lives could be drastically improved. Schooling costs are severe and put multitudes of stress on impending graduates. Not only are they leaving to face “real” life, they’re doing it with debt weighing them down. While this proposal was made mid election year, if it pans out there would be plenty of less bogged down students.
Is it futile to put hope into this suggested plan? Or is it cynical to think that there is too much at play too much money and expensive colleges for this to succeed? No matter what your beliefs or plans, there is certainty in the knowledge that things have to change. The growing cost of education is only hurting the society we live in. Education should be a priority.
If only the wealthy have the ability and the means to afford college, it could create a trickle effect which would cause more individuals to fall into to the lower class divide with no college backing to help them land a job. The gap between classes would enlarge tremendously.
Teaching and learning should be the primary focus rather than exploiting the students and their families who wish to engage in a higher education; an education that should be promised to them.
College is equated with success in today’s world. So why make it nearly impossible for individuals to attend, and not fall into a life of debt, loans, and monetary struggle. Well educated people of today’s society are necessary. Why deny our country those people?

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