Tuesday, April 03, 2007

College Debt: The Line Between Enough And Not Enough
By Laura Matteri

College debt looms over the lives of millions. It can range from a few thousand to an amount worth a four-year tuition. Aggravation and worry continues to grow as the years fly by, and it seems that the payments will never cease.

In order to fulfill society’s strict expectations of today’s youth, each student who begins as an undergraduate must pay the thousands of dollars for each year for their education. Whether or not the student continues to graduate programs does not make the payment plans any easier.

Suddenly, the minute we graduate from high school, the state is done paying for our education. Unless some sort of consecutive 4.0 student applies for scholarship, the school seems to need more from the applicant in order to give some financial relief.

I, as many others, found that I had to turn my childhood into a soap opera saga in order to get some sort of scholarship. I wasn’t a 4.0 student in high school, so I took a different way into the school’s “heart.” Diversity issues. I wrote essay after essay applying for different scholarships telling my childhood story as an adoptee growing up in a rural, white community. For some reason, this does not register as grounds for receiving money for tuition.

Society leads us to believe that immediately following our high school graduation, we are to be enrolled in and attending a four-year university or college that will lead to the degree in our life’s interest. However, this school that we choose has certain standards to reach in order to be “accepted” by this invisible rulebook that society has created for its youth.

Ivy league, “well-known” colleges are the best choice you can make. Actually, the most expensive, the better. Somehow I feel that society wants us to be in debt. Tens of thousands of dollars are taken out in loans by students and possibly their parents. America thrives on its youth and the future of the country, but how can it survive when the coming generations are drowning in the debt that has been created by our own government?

I feel that since there is such an expectation for students to continue their education past high school, there should be grants and programs set up state by state to pay for their youth to attend college. If it is so necessary for further education, there shouldn’t be any need for the student to pay for it. The money being spent on wars and wasteful things should be put towards paying for the country’s youth to be educated.

America’s reputation as a rich and thriving country will go down the drain as the “echo boomers” struggle to live middle class lives while paying off college debt. Enough is enough. Expectations to follow our dreams and make this country proud of its citizens are just a crock if there isn’t any aid available.

If our tax dollars pay for approximately 14 years (if you count preschool and kindergarten), why can’t they keep paying for college? We are all well aware of the amount of money taken out of our paychecks. Taxes from half of the American citizens could make a huge dent in aiding the needy future of this country.

Ridiculous standards and hideous tuition costs are pressuring our youth more and more every year. As we take the next step in our lives, are we walking the path to a successful future? Or is it a path to a hidden trap that straps us in struggle and anxiety? Either way, it seems that we are all on this path and somewhere, we hope, there is a clearing ahead.

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