College Decisions Weighted by College Costs

Emma Dunnington '19, Contributing Writer

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In a perfect world, if someone gets accepted into their top choice college, they should be able commit to the school and attend the next fall. This does happen for a lot of students; but, for most, the cost of college is a stressful factor in the college selection process. As the senior class and our friends have moved deeper through the college process, our realization of how much college costs has put serious weight on our shoulders. The recent scandal involving over 50 individuals — parents, coaches, SAT proctors — only adds to the strains.

The rate of college cost increases has been alarming.  In 1987-1988, someone attending a public four-year college spent an average of $3,190 per year . In 2017-2018, the average increased to $9,970. For a private college, the average in 1988 was $15,160. Now, the average is $34,740. In 1915, A study by the College Board, college costs have increased 163% since the 1980s. These trends have serious consequences for college-bound students and their families.

First, high college tuition turns student debt into a norm. According to an article in Forbes magazine, there are approximately 44 million Americans carrying student debt, which amounts to $1.5 million total. College debt has emerged as the highest burden of consumer debts. Why should we just accept that we will be in student debt for many years after college graduation? Many of my friends and I are applying for as many scholarships as we can in order to afford college tuition. Yet, students should not have the fear of debt looming over them as they enter into adulthood. It is hard enough to find your own apartment, start a career, and become independent without cascading college debt to carry on your shoulders after graduation.

Tuition adds a significant amount of stress to the college process. Seniors have many factors to consider before committing to a school for next fall. Hopefully, changes will be made in the future so that college tuition is less of an issue for students. While financing college remains a source of stress to seniors, nonetheless, we are all excited to choose which college will become our launchpad for our next journey.

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