Unless noted otherwise, Ellen Mutari and Melaku Lakew take these points from the article as noted in the assignment. This is written as though I am making a presentation to my senator, Senator Jones.
Senator Jones: Thank you for allowing me to meet with you today and address a growing and troubling problem in this country: increasing college tuition, student debt and students having to work while enrolled in college. I would like to share ten points of information with you regarding this issue along with some solutions that I hope you take into consideration.
1. Did you know that three-fourths, that’s 75% of college students work while enrolled in classes? In fact, students sometimes work two jobs, which can leave little time to study and prepare for class.
2. Scholarships do not cover the full cost of college. “Full” scholarships do not include books, transportation and health care. Financial aid does not cover as much as it once did. Pell grants, for example, cover only 40% of the average cost to attend a four-year public college compared to the 84% it covered in the mid 1970s.
3. Six million full time college students in the US work while enrolled in school. They cannot afford and education otherwise. Three-fourths, that’s 75% of college students work while in school. The percentage for part time college students is even higher with 85% working while taking classes.
4. The cost of college has skyrocketed as of 2015-16. Ranging from $11,000 for room and board for a two-year public college to $44,000 for a four-year. Out-of-state tuition is usually double (Average Published, 2016).
5. The United States is always touted as a melting pot and a place where immigrants can come and make better lives for them. Attaining a college education is a dream for many low to middle class income families and even more so for people who come to this country to give their children better opportunities.
6. Families have to allocate larger percentages of their income to cover tuition. This especially impacts lower income families and even middle class families are starting to struggle to keep up with rising tuition.
7. Tuition is increasing because colleges and universities are not receiving the same funding from the state or through donations and contracts. Change in state funding from year to year especially impacts state-related and public sector institutions. In fact, it is the state-funded universities that have missions of making education accessible to everyone.
8. Student aid has decreased overall as well. With some students working up to 30 hours per week while maintaining a full class loads mean they cannot dedicate the time required to get good grades and get the most from the education they’re paying for.
9. Some working students do not have flexibility with their employer to meet the demands of classes, having to choose between their job and coursework. One in five first year students working 35 hours or more per week did not finish out their first year. Working long hours while in school has a negative impact on academic achievement.
10. Students from low-income families are more likely to work while in school than families with higher incomes. Half of low-income students who work said they could not afford to stay in school unless they worked.
In sum Senator, students have to rely more on student loans. With tuition steadily increasing the amount students have to borrow increases, as does the amount of monthly payments proportionately. In addition, interest rates have increased. Nearly 70% of bachelor’s degree recipients leave school with debt (Berman, 2016) Research indicates that the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt may be preventing Americans, from making the kinds of big purchases that drive economic growth
In the United States, there is no reason why every individual cannot have access to a good and affordable education. This situation can be improved in several ways. First, the government should be more proactive in forcing lending companies to reduce or curb interest rates on student loans. I addition, the current administration should find a way to reduce government spending and use that money to create more federal grants for students – in particular those from low-income families.
Thank you for your time and I hope you consider some of the information I have shared with you today.
- Average Published Undergraduate Charges by Sector (2016). Trends in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-undergraduate-charges-sector-2015-16
- Berman, J. (2016). America’s growing student-loan-debt-crisis. MarketWatch. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/americas-growing-student-loan-debt-crisis-2016-01-15