As SLA seniors consider their college acceptances, they are faced with two questions — where they got into, and what their financial packages look like. For the Class of 2022, the decision is complicated by covid as a new factor, since.. Many people are at a loss for a steady income and education.
These circumstances are making some seniors ask: Why is college so expensive and how can students afford it? Is college even worth it?
SLA seniors are not alone in these concerns. College tuition has been on an upward trend for the last two decades. US News states that the average tuition at private National Universities have jumped 144%. Out-of-state tuition at public National Universities have risen 171%. In-state tuition and fees at public National Universities have grown the most, increasing 211%. This increase is huge, with many people not being able to afford college. Enrollment has even declined by nearly a million students since the start of the pandemic.
This sudden increase is not is not entirely a choice. The pandemic had forced factories to shut down which also affected the fees that are built into the college tuition including meal plans and technology. Virginia Tech increased its meal plan by 9 percent because of the dining hall workers who were not making enough money. This is just one example of sudden expenses.
Senior Piper McConnell is one SLA student whose choices have been influenced by all of these factors.
“I feel like it’s really hard to be affordable, it depends on your resources,” she said.“Even if you have a bunch of money for college, it is really hard to afford it. I wish I could pay for my college education easily. I think it would open up the option for a lot of people. “
Fortunately, Piper is able to attend her top school, University of San Francisco. “A Lot of people feel like it is not an option for them to go to college, or the school that they want to go to just because of how much it costs.”
Senior Paula Vekker also knows how important long-term planning is to make college affordable. , “I was lucky enough to have my tuition saved through my entire family. Generations saved up just for me to go to college. “ Thanks to this long-term planning, Paula will be attending University of Pennsylvania in the fall without major concerns about how the degree is being paid for. She knows that this good fortune does not come to everyone. “College disproportionally affects families who have low incomes,” she noted. “Institutions disregard the financial aid crisis.”
Despite all of these challenges, researchers say college is worth the cost. According to a report by The College Board, people who graduate from college earn about 73 percent more than high school graduates. College Board also states, those with advanced degrees earn two to three times as much as high school graduates. On average, college graduates earn $1 million more over their lifetimes than high school graduates.
We have all heard numerous times, people questioning the cost of college. For some it might be the right track, but for others maybe not.
Lily Prendergast, another senior at SLA, was deciding between two schools, Temple and University of Pennsylvania. “Even with the generous tuition benefit that they gave me, Penn was still such a huge cost in terms of all four years of my life.” Lily is now able to go to Temple for four years and hopefully graduate without any loans!