By Rachel Jankowski, Young America's Foundation Sarah T.
Hermann Intern Scholar
As the cost of higher education continues to rise exponentially,
more students have been cutting expenses and opting to stay home to
save money. Can you blame them?
While the number of people enrolling in colleges has increased,
those actually receiving degrees are declining. Only 25% of
are enrolled full-time at residential
colleges. Now, students are working more and
taking even longer to get their degree, if they even get it.
The amount of students enrolling in community colleges has risen
over the past few years. However, this year the numbers are
starting to wane and even decline. Students know the value of
higher education, but as tuition costs escalate, they are starting
to wonder if it is as valuable as the price tag they are
How are students supposed to pay for their everyday expenses--let
alone their education?
And, what exactly is Obama administration's solution? The
administration supposedly beloved by young people surely must have
Not really. Recently, the president signed a bill to keep the
student loan interest rates at 3.4%. This seems to be great news
for college students already swimming in debt, but it only further
kicks the problem down the road-nothing new for this
His solution does not get to the root of the problem. It only
exacerbates it. Since 1991-the year an incoming college
senior was born-
tuition has risen nearly 300%! Tuition prices
have skyrocketed, making higher education economically unattainable
for many people. If tuition goes up another 300% in the next 20
years, will anyone be able to afford it?
From the young age of 18, students are learning to just pile on
debt, hoping someday it will get paid off. Low interest rates help
students feel like their unsustainable burden is not that bad.
Rather than seriously thinking about such an expensive purchase,
young people rack up mounds of debt because they feel they will not
be able to succeed otherwise. Student loan debt in the
United States amounts to $1trillion, surpassing credit card debt for the
first time in history.
Until higher education makes their product worthwhile and affordable, students will continue to cut
back on education expenses.
Rachel Jankowski is a Sarah T. Hermann Intern
Scholar at Young America's Foundation.