For students, the word “college” represents freedom, stability, and being in endless debt for the rest of their lives. For parents, the word brings the fears of bankruptcy and struggles.
We always hear about how important college is, how it affects our lives, and how people struggle because of highly priced tuition. But does going to college really decide the pattern of our lives?
In 2012, 1 in 3 college graduates had a job that only required a high school diploma and are still paying off their students loans, depending on the income of these high school diploma jobs (college-education). The average American has a student debt of $26,500. This speaks volumes about the changes in the American dream and young people’s aspirations for a decent life style.
We have the most costly colleges in the world and the least government support when it comes to going to college in first world countries.
In other first world nations, such as the United Kingdom, the government mandates that eligible students pursuing an undergraduate degree may receive both a tuition fee loan as well as a maintenance loan, which covers living expenses. While these loans are set at a fixed amount, low-income students may reapply to receive a larger loan or a maintenance grant, which does not have to be repaid (The New York Times).
However, Sweden and Germany are tuition free! They have the highest affordability rate with only 2.24% of the population not being able to afford it, while the US college educational system was marked among one of the least affordable. This too speaks volumes about the poor provisions of college system in comparison with the other first world countries and the US.
College attendance percentage of the US is decreasing. Only 62.5% of high school graduates enrolled for college last year, and any of those did not sign up because they could not afford college due to its high costs (NYT.com).
Increasing the percentage of students going to college and reducing college cost has been one of the most controversial topics in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats and republicans proposed ideas such as having free community college education and providing a different system of loans for students.
Either way, if the country does not solve the issue of having a very expensive college education the number of students attending college will keep on dropping , which will, in return, decreases the number of people in professional fields and make the U.S. just a fascist nation with the majority of its citizens suffering from a lack of sufficient financial aid.