College Pricetags: An Unreasonable Burden?
by Monique Williams on Friday, June 8th, 2012
For many students here at Milton, going to college is never in doubt. Despite the ongoing recession, higher education remains a top priority. Our generation has placed an enormous amount of emphasis on a college degree, to the point that without one an individual cannot succeed in this day and age. The number of overqualified candidates for fewer jobs has grown throughout the years; consequently, today’s youth must ensure that they are equipped to compete amongst the best—but at what cost?
The incredible price of education is sadly no longer a surprise. Many families must undergo two challenges: getting their child accepted to college and then financing that education. College counselor Mrs. Klein-Ash said frankly that “the price of private colleges, and even in-state colleges, has grown out of control, so there are fewer people who even consider these schools.” She also mentioned the hindrances of burdensome student loans and their effects on a person’s credit score in the future. Although the phenomenon of fewer people considering certain schools does decrease the field of competition for families with means, it is unfortunate for students who are qualified enough to be part of the applicant pool but just can’t make the huge financial sacrifice.
Is college even worth the financial implications? As Christian Castillo (I) said, “If college comes at that expensive a price, it should guarantee success,” which it, of course, cannot. Yet it remains a general belief that in order to be successful and have career options, one must go to college; few are told otherwise. So if we all must attend college in order to have a shot at success, why is it out of reach for an increasingly large number of people? Why make it even harder to succeed if society wants to see its children succeed? Well, according to NPR, education budgets are shrinking even as schools are paying more for athletic recruitment and services like catering, all of which are less than necessary for a top-ranked education. As long as schools can charge exorbitant prices, they will.
This problem does not seem to have an easy solution. For now, students will have to fight to secure their spots, even if that means shedding the proverbial blood, sweat and tears. Many will simply rationalize, as Nicole Rufus (I) did: “Yeah, it’s expensive, but that’s the cost of getting [that] quality of education”—even if that cost means piles of loans, grants, and additional financial struggles. The same argument can be made for elite prep schools such as Milton: families are willing to pay those extra dollars in order to have the best chance at success while getting a world-class education.
Not many of us can think of an alternative to college; it has been and perhaps always will be the common goal of most high school educations. Though its costs can be financially crippling, in the long run, perhaps we should value it not only for academics, but also for the people we meet and the experiences we gain. Then, no matter the monetary burden, college will remain a priceless part of our lives.
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