A Solution To College Debt

March 28, 2017

As a human race, it is a common understanding that knowledge is valuable. Especially in the United States, a quality education is almost necessary to obtain a decent career. So, why is it that college tuition is so expensive and that the cost continues to rise? Even the steps one must take before actual college acceptance can break the bank with costs, like paying to take the SAT or ACT, test prep classes, score report fees, and college application fees are just a few expenses that are required in order to even be considered for acceptance. These fees can add up to a few hundred or even thousands of dollars depending on how many schools you apply to. Often cost is the ultimate factor for students and families deciding on which college to attend or to even attend college at all.

During the 2016 school year, the average college tuition costs were $33,480 at private colleges, $9,650 at public colleges for state residents, and $24,930 for out-of-state students attending a public university according to the College Board. These prices do not include the cost of housing and meals, textbooks and other learning materials, transportation, and extra expenses which add up to about $14,000 to $18,000 more to your college bill every year. This is alarming seeing that the average american household income in 2016 was about $55,775 according to the Census ACS survey. Using these averages, an average american family would spend at the very least $47,480 a year to send their child to a private college not leaving them with much to pay for bills, groceries, and other life expenses.

Now the ideal solution would be to get colleges to lower their tuition costs and fees seeing that costs have been rising almost 6% above the rate of inflation according to Ray Franke, professor of education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. But that money is necessary for things like college sports teams. They profit from investments in new sports facilities, amenities, generous coach salaries, and trusted attorneys for those “boy will be boys” athletes. However, not all universities have division one sports, so tuition is aiding in the building and maintaining of the latest facilities, attracting elite faculty, and providing top of the line student amenities. All of which are investments to compete for more students who cannot even afford to go there. Therefore, the greater solution would not be to lower the cost of tuition, but for students to have more money to pay for college.

The price of a higher education in the U.S. will continue to rise and we cannot count on the government to bail us out, seeing that they are in even more debt than student loan borrowers, so families need to start saving earlier on. However, even that will not be enough. More students need to start working and working longer in order to save enough. To encourage this, I propose that the legal working age in the U.S. be lowered to the age of eight. This is the only way that lower and middle class families will be able to afford the rising cost of tuition.

A combined forty-four million Americans owe $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Currently, 71% of students who graduate from a four-year college has student loan debt with the average graduate accumulating $37,172 in debt. If the average monthly payment is $351 for student loans, it would take about nine years to pay off, assuming payments are consistent. So why not make up that time and money by having children begin paying for their futures earlier on. Although most borrowers go on a ten-year repayment track plan, research shows that it takes twenty-one years for the average bachelor’s degree holder to pay off their loans (Bidwell 3). However, by lowering minimum working age, we can see in the chart below that a student who had been working since they were eight would not have any college debt, nor would have needed to take out a loan in the first place.

Not only would this allow families to save up more for college and other expenses, it would instill the value of hard work and appreciation at a younger age. We would not have to worry about another generation of Millennials and Americans can slowly move away from the stereotypes the world castes on us about being lazy and entitled. Our children will be more hardworking than ever. This is the only viable solution to keep up with the rising cost of college tuition. Let's go back to the days where America was the land of hard workers and opportunity. (word count 795)

Works Cited
Bidwell, Allie. “Student Loan Expectations: Myth vs. Reality.” Usnews. U.S. New & World Report L.P., 2017. Web. Accessed 9 February 2017.
“A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2017.” Studentloanhero.Student Loan Hero, Inc., Feb. 2017. Web. Accessed 8 February 2017.
Schoen, John. “Why Does a College Degree Cost So Much?” CNBC. CNBC LLC, June 2015. Web. Accessed 6 February 2017.
“US Household Income.” Deptofnumbers. Web. Accessed 7 February 2017.
“What’s the Price Tag for a College Education?” Collegedata. NACAC, 2017. Web. Accessed 6 February 2017.

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