Sunday, November 2, 2008

You got accepted to the college of your dreams!
The campus is beautiful, the residence halls are comfortable and lively; always something going on, something to do.
Classes are challenging, professors range from fantastic to drop-dead bizarre, and life continues in an array of trial and excitement… at least for a year.
Halfway into your third semester, you realize you are $10,000 away from finishing the year, let alone getting a degree.
The lenders will not accept you, the scholarships have all expired, and you find yourself grasping at straws, trying to find a way- any way- to finish what you started.
This is the story of hundreds of college students, including myself, who come from the lower end of the economic totem pole. College tuition and expense is a continuous and rising problem.
Did you know that since 1982, family expense on college has gone up by 439 percent? That is four times the increase in the Consumer Price Index, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tuition itself has raised 5-7 percent every year for the last five years. And when you add room and board, daily living costs, supplies and textbooks, the annual cost of attending a four-year college is approximately $30,000.
what do we do? Some are able to scrape by, staying in school by the skin of their checkbooks. Others may be in debt for the rest of their lives, but they’ll manage to get that ever-important little piece of paper. But many of us will simply stop attending school, at least temporarily, because there is nothing we can do to stay.
There should be a call to action, But Im not sure what it should be. At first I had the idealistic and simple idea, that colleges realize they are disabling themselves and lower tuition again, but then I remembered how un-ideal this world can be.
The famous, and consequently most expensive, colleges are implementing the best course of action. Many Ivy League universities are turning to sliding-scale tuitions.
With this tuition plan, families will only have to pay 10 percent of their income. This arrangement is made with an income cap; meaning only those who make less then the cutoff amount would qualify. Harvard, for example, placed the cap at $150,000 per year.
If more colleges would adopt this policy, I believe we would see more college students reaching graduation. I think we would see more people succeeding and going on to achieve great things and make the world a better place.
The United States has always been regarded as a country where a person is not restricted by the circumstances of his or her birth. People can better themselves and, to be cliché, become whatever they wish to be.
Part of this claim comes from our places of higher learning. If we, as a nation, wish to keep this standard, we need to make sure our colleges and universities remain accessible to everyone.