Why didn’t this occur to me as an undergrad?

By   |  July 27, 2008

I was quite surprised when I read this article about college students in Seattle resorting to food banks. Thinking about it, though, it makes sense considering the current economic conditions.

But I think that a larger issue is at hand, and that is the affordability of a college education in this country. For those who don’t have to face the challenge of financing their education, it’s very easy to assume that there are means to cover such expenses.

Sure, there are means, but they aren’t always easy to obtain. Personally, I had to support myself since I was 16, and that included financing my college education. It wasn’t easy, mainly because tuition costs is only part of the problem. To cut expenses, I attended community college first and then transferred to UCI to complete my degree. I worked A LOT but still graduated with a hefty credit card debt and a serious bill to Uncle Sam.

Everyday expenses really add up – especially food (which explained my credit card debt). It never occured to me to actually visit a food bank, and if it did, I can’t say I would have actually gone as I am sure there were (are!) others far worse off and more deserving.

However, I certainly wouldn’t have passed up more financial aid that didn’t have strings attached, or for that matter, less hassle at the financial aid office (this includes all three colleges I attended). (Filling out those forms and getting everything in order is akin to filing taxes in my book.) But why even bother with financial aid?

Why should students have to pay for tuition at all? How much easier would it be to make it through college if you already know your tuition is covered, especially if you’re flying solo? (For those that don’t already know, California Community Colleges actually offer a fee waiver for those that qualify, which helps tremendously.)

These days, it doesn’t seem as if a high school education will get you very far. In fact, the baccalaureate appears to be the minimum requirement to get your foot in the door at most companies – an advanced degrees is becoming more and more of a necessity. My opinion is that it would only behoove us as a society to educate our population – via outside funding sponsored by the government, companies, private foundations, etc. – beyond the “minimal” requirement of a high school diploma. In essence, college tuition should be covered for students who qualify, period.

Of course, this begs the question of what to do to prepare said students for the rigorous (yet basic) math and science courses required to earn a baccalaureate degree, as it is becoming painfully obvious that our public schools aren’t up to the task.

But that’s for another blog.

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3 Comments on “Why didn’t this occur to me as an undergrad?”  (RSS)

  1. I am a father who would dearly love to see his children enter into colleges, but a number of years ago I was involved in an accident that took away my opportunity to work any longer, as a result I have absolutely no way of helping my children financially in college which upsets me greatly. Even before I had children I always thought it offensive that only those with money could send their children on into higher education, thereby leaving those with as much if not more intelligence to fall by the wayside, but this whole concept of student credit to get into college and leaveing this great sword of repayment hanging over the heads of those who do want to get on and educate themselves further is sickening. It’s bad enough that currently the woprld is sliding into a recession of horrible proportions, but to face the prospect of having a huge debt just to educate yourself further is horrendous, no wonder I see so many of todays youth giving up, it seems to be a case of accept your fate or try and achieve whilst carrying na boulder upon your back. I know there are many who won’t agree but I think it’s time the lunatics were put back in the cage and that we started seeing realistically affordable education for the future generations, else I fear that the world will slide into a pit of ignorance from which it cannot escape

  2. This is the link to the original article referenced in the comment: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/lifestyle/view.bg?articleid=1111194&srvc=rss …for those who are interested.

    I would agree that I think ALL payday loans should be banned. It’s one thing to need a quick loan, it’s another to depend on such services. Yes, they are useful for those that cannot obtain credit for whatever reason, yet it is exactly this population that such loan services prey upon. It is very disheartening to see all of the insta-loan stores in poorer areas – why aren’t there more in college towns if so many students needed such a quick means of getting by until their next check?

  3. Every parent has the burden of finances in putting up their children to school. Tuition fee increase in every school is overwhelming. Some would resort to payday loans in order to cover up the increase in tuition fee. In this case, do you think no fax payday loan should be outlawed? I have read an article on this site: *SPAM REMOVED* It mentions about some ways on how to lessen the burdens of parents with their obligations.

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