Home / Spring 2014 / 2014-03-27 / Debt for diplomas

Debt for diplomas

Written by: Jordan Hill

Money isn’t necessary to find happiness, but it’s essential to gain a college education.

Every year, students are forced to take out loans and struggle to afford the costs of college.

Suzanne Mettler, a writer for The New York Times, believes that college treats students unequally. Statistics show that lower-class families pay more for college than upper-class families.

Low-income families may receive the Pell Grant, the HOPE Scholarship and other federal financial aid, but recently the amount of federal aid available has decreased, requiring many families to obtain loans to pay the full cost of tuition.

The quantity that the Pell Grant covers has decreased 50 percent in the past 44 years. In the ‘70s, Pell supplied around 80 percent of tuition, and now it covers only 30 percent. 75 percent of students that receive Pell come from families making less than $30,000 annually.

Because of steep college expenses, students must do their best to increase their financial aid opportunities.

“Kids from lower incomes are not as active or skilled in finding those outside awards,” said Donald Bishop, Notre Dame’s associate vice president of undergraduate enrollment.

Students should consult the internet or a counselor to find financial aid information; scholarships are not hard to find or apply for, and students who don’t pursue such assistance will pay the cost−literally.

Although grants and state funding has decreased for students, there are still ways to pay for college. Students may have to work multiple jobs and may accumulate thousands of dollars in debt before graduating, but this is the price one pays for a post-secondary education, something that is increasingly valuable in today’s job market.

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