Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

There is no question: the price of higher education has increased to a very unpopular standard. Some private colleges and universities will even ask for more than $60,000 for one year of education, while students in countries like Norway, Scotland, Spain, Morocco, and Turkey, can attend post-secondary education for free. For the United States, there is no such bargain. In the past decade, federal student loan debt more than doubled from $41 billion to $103 billion.
State schools are a bargain. Their original main purpose was to provide some sort of option for those who could not afford higher-priced private schools. However, campus cutbacks began just when the need for these state schools were at a high. Since the 2007-08 academic year, many state schools’ admissions increased up to 68 percent. In 2010, when I first applied to colleges, the amount of applicants was painfully high. Schools like Temple University and West Chester University had to place students with sufficient grades on their waiting list.
Between 2007 and 2012, 15 states have suffered declines in funding for higher education according to a report put out by the State of Higher Education. Tuition has soared, and middle-class families are at a loss when it comes being able to afford higher education. The crisis is not just in the cost of higher education. Part of the real conflict appears when college graduates need to find work. 53 percent of recent college graduates are jobless or under-employed. This number is the highest it has been in 11 years. With work very hard to find, the cost of tuition needs to decrease.
The President’s plan announced on August 21 at the University of Buffalo should gain Congressional approval. Measuring tuition, graduation rates, percentage of lower-income students attending the school, and earnings and debts of the college graduates is a thorough plan. President Obama is correct, the crisis surrounding higher education needs to change.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” said the President when he spoke last month. The plan is to keep track of important statistics of colleges. The cost, graduation rates, and potential future earnings for college graduates will all be taken into consideration. The plan includes a $1 billion fund that will aid states that improve those statistics.
The President’s plan to focus on this ongoing problem has promise. It may be difficult to persuade Congress to move forward with this plan, but it is a necessary leap. The fact is, cost of higher education is unaffordable and something needs to be done about it.
I am in my fourth year of college and I must say, the struggle to pay for tuition on my own has been hard. Obama’s plan should pave the way for future reform; future students should not have the same struggle that I do.
Elizabeth Coppa is a third-year student majoring in communication studies and minoring in journalism. She can be reached at EC744351@wcupa.edu.

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