Thinking of Affordable Education

As a student, I see how hard it is to pay for school. Going to a community college alone has cost me upwards of $6,000 in my first year. Students go into debt by taking out loans they have a hard time paying back. Indeed, the main issue with the rising prices is the debt rate. On average, Colorado university students graduate $27,000 in debt. It can take years to pay back this money, and in the meantime, these same students won’t be buying a car or house any time soon.

The issue with loans is that people aren’t always educated about them. Often, when people are approved for loans, they’re awarded a larger sum than what they need. Accordingly, not all of the money that is offered has to get used, which means smart budgeting and fiscal maturity need to be applied. Along these lines, perhaps colleges should better educate their students on how a loan works. They could allow students the bare minimum needed to pay for their classes and books. This would enable the students to pay off their tuition and get their books while not getting themselves into so much debt. It’s all about realizing what’s wanted versus what’s needed.

Of equal importance, students need to take the time to find scholarships and consistently apply for them. Not getting the one they want most doesn’t mean they cannot get another. However, colleges and businesses need to better promote scholarships so students can find the money and use it. Likewise, the application process for scholarships is extensive and should, in many cases, be streamlined; students would be more willing to capitalize on the money at hand with a sensible and manageable application process.

One big problem colleges are facing is the low number of attending minority students who actually graduate. Colleges get more government funding based on their minority rates. A larger diversity of students allows the school to obtain more government funds. Likewise, minority students also tend to get more scholarship opportunities and financial aid. The Colorado Latino population is immense. They represent a significant portion of the future workforce, but without a degree or certification of some sort, their chances of getting a job are slim.

Colleges can mitigate this problem by investing more in their minority populations. Many schools offer support groups for a specific race, but more support groups are always a good idea. Allowing the students to understand their worth and how important it is for them to succeed makes them want to do the best they can to get a job, make money, and better their lives. From a fiscal standpoint, it benefits schools to appeal to minority students. As long as the schools help their students, the students stand a better chance of succeeding. When schools proactively support minority students, those students show a greater desire to attend college.

These challenges begin with elementary education and span the entire academic lifecycle. Education needs to be focused on the future. What will students need in order to succeed versus what is being taught? If the education system starts to better address challenges surrounding tuition, debt, and success rates, everyone will benefit in the long run. In a global economy that isn’t slowing down, we have no real alternative if we want to compete.

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