Society has stressed attending college as an absolute necessity in order to make a content life for oneself. Those who choose not to attend are looked down upon, as those who do attend are living their lives in debt to afford it. But, at what point is too much?
Tuition costs are growing exponentially, as it has risen over 500 percent since when our parents attended. A 10,000 dollar education in 1985 costs over 50,000 dollars today. Not to mention the preposterous additional fees with dorms, dining, and books. As a whole, most families find themselves spending at least fifty-eight percent of their yearly income on a single year of school.
With the increase in tuition over the years, there has also been an exponential increase in loans and loan debt. Over the last decade, the number of undergraduates taking loans increased by ten percent, as student debt increased by 10,000 dollars. Notably, these statistics include financial aid assistance, which isn’t nearly enough to make most colleges actually affordable.
Along with the above information, expert researchers from ValueColleges Organization have concluded “two-thirds of American college students graduate with college debt, and that debt now tops $1.2 trillion.”
This makes even the thought of obtaining a higher education out of reach for the lower and middle class citizens. While on the other hand, students of wealthy families with no work ethic are making deals with prestigious universities. Not too long ago, in 2019, there was a scandal involving a multitude of parents who paid bribes to guarantee their child’s acceptance into a university. One case, in particular, included actress Lori Laughlin who paid half a million dollars to a fake charity to get her daughter, Olivia Jade, into USC.
These issues would not be present if college tuition was more affordable or even free, granting everyone a fair chance. Over forty countries offer free post-secondary education, some of these being: Argentina, Scotland, Denmark, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and many more. Coincidentally, these same countries seem to have higher happiness rates and a more peaceful society because their mindset is not to live to work; it’s to work to live.
Furthermore, apart from the ludicrous prices and biased entrees, a common misconception, which society stresses, is that people need to attend college in order to have even a chance of being successful. More than half of undergraduates go into college undecided, unsure of what they want to do. Many wind up choosing a study and wasting money due to societal pressure, just as many may wind up deciding on a career path that does not even require a degree.
Thirty percent of living billionaires have never gotten their bachelors degree.
Michael Dell dropped out of the University of Texas freshman year and founded Dell technologies. He is worth 20.9 billion dollars.
Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University and created Microsoft. He is currently the wealthiest man on the planet, exceeding 100 billion dollars.
Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard University and created the facebook social media platform. He is now worth 90 billion dollars.
Larry Ellison dropped out of the University of Chicago after struggling and created the Oracle software. He is worth over 55 billion dollars.
The notable Steve Jobs dropped out of college because it was a financial burden, and created Apple from his garage. His worth was 10.2 billion dollars when he passed.
The list goes on and on, as each success story has the same moral lesson- college is not a necessity for success and people can accomplish anything with self-motivation and determination.
To note, obviously now-a-days, certain careers require a college degree like becoming a doctor or a lawyer. A college education can most definitely be beneficial for preparing to go off into the real world, but it is the side effects that come with it that makes me question its value.
Keishla Rodriguez, a senior at Quakertown Community High School, has been doing some questioning of her own, as she recognizes, “I believe that society and the whole system we live in paints a picture of an ideal lifestyle including the typical graduating from high school, going to college, finding a high paying job to pay off student debt along with other bills, and retiring. While this may be an ideal lifestyle for some, it’s not for all, and that’s okay. It’s not in everyone’s path to attend college and I think that that should become a new norm in society.”
Keishla couldn’t have said it any better. Society is growing by the day and we are at a time where a new generation is starting to take over. Therefore, it is important that people really contemplate their future and consider if college will either hinder and frustrate their journey or progress and provide opportunities worth working for.