A Chronicle of Higher Education article states that only 34 percent of high-achieving high-school seniors in the bottom quarter of family income went to one of the 238 most selective colleges, compared with 78 percent of students from the top quarter (Markell). Certainly, these numbers show that students that come from low income families aren’t getting the opportunities that they deserve. With college costs going nowhere but up, students from low-income families face tough decisions. Some students choose to attend community college while some make the decision to take out additional loans. There are also those who choose to drop out because they can no longer sustain the cost of college. Those who don’t have the money to go to a selective college are often not reaching their full potential. Therefore, college cost should be lowered so that more people can have the opportunity to get higher education. Such a push is needed; firstly, due to the continuous rise in tuition, higher education is becoming less and less affordable for low-income students. According to the Journal of College Admission, from 1982 to 2007, college tuition and fees increased by 439 percent, while median family income increased by 147 percent. Last year, the net cost at four-year public universities amounted to 28 percent of median family income, while a four-year private college or university consumed 76 percent of median family income (Mahoney). These numbers show that college cost has risen at a rate that has consistently outpaced the median family income and also inflation. Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, states, “If we go on this way for another 25 years, we won’t have an affordable system of higher education”(Callan). Essentially, if college cost doesn’t stop increasing it will become unaffordable and many will choose not to get higher education.
Furthermore, there are many students who aren’t getting the opportunity that they deserve because they are not able to afford it. At the most competitive colleges, only 14 percent of students come from the lower 50 percent of families by income (Perez-Pena). Some low-income students who study very hard can't reach the diploma or certificate. A New York Times article states, “While 2.8 million students enroll in some form of higher education each year, most do not proceed straight through to graduation. Only one in five of those who enroll in two-year institutions earn an associate degree within three years, and only two in five of those who start four-year colleges complete their degrees within six years”(Lewin). College being outrageously expensive is one of the reasons students are not reaching their full potential. Access to higher education has become increasingly difficult for low income families, yet a college degree is more important than ever in today’s economy. Indeed, there’s no denying that college tuition and expenses aren’t cheap. In the 2011-12 academic year, the average net cost for a full-time student at an in-state public university was about $15,000 for tuition, fees, room, board, books and incidental expenses, according to the College Board (Clark). Four years of college costs about 60,000 dollars. Aside from tuition, college students also have to worry about the other expenses that come with being a college student. Those who don’t have enough to afford it are faced with tough decisions. According to a New York Times article, about 7 in 10 of the dropouts said they had no scholarship or loan aid. Among those who got degrees, only about four in 10 went without such aid (Perez-Pena). College students who come from low-income families are being forced to take out additional loans to afford college. Some students choose to attend community college while some make the decision to take out additional loans. There are also those who choose to drop out because they can no longer sustain the cost of college. Often times, students...
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