College tuition is way too high

How can middle-class students expect to pay for continuing their education?


As a high school senior heading into my final quarter, I have four things ahead of me that I need to prepare for: graduation, senior trip, working two jobs, and college. In regards to the first three, I’m honestly not too worried, but rather excited (besides working two jobs). I’m excited for college, of course, but there is one thing that I am currently dreading as most 18-22 year olds are. That is finding a way to pay the unbelievably high cost of tuition and other expenses (room and board, books, etc).

The sticker price (not including scholarships and loans) to attend an Ohio 4-year public university is more than $100,000. A New York times article stated that the average price of a college tuition is three times as expensive for public schools, and roughly four times as expensive for private schools since 1974.

“It sucks because if a middle-class person struggles to pay for college, then how is a lower-class person supposed to do it,” says senior Nick Niehaus. “Just more proof that we live in an unfair world.”

Just more proof we live in an unfair world. ”

— Nick Niehaus

College tuition vs other consumer products (photo from

Basically if you are not a star athlete, academically gifted, or born into a rich family, then paying for college is going to be extremely difficult. Those from an educated, hard-working, middle-class family trying to pay for a post secondary education is going to be a personal challenge, which is where most Elder students are now.

“I’ve always wanted to go school out-of-state somewhere in the south,” says University of Cincinnati sophomore Jake McMahon. “But unless I wanted to go into an insane amount of debt out of college, then I simply could not do it.”

Student-loan debt in the United States has grown to a ridiculous amount of $1.3 trillion, and the average college graduate will have to pay back $37,000.

The greatest investment in terms of price and return for most people is going to be college, but it seems that people are given a much tougher chance today. I mean seriously, where am I supposed to find $100,000 over the span of four years? The impact of scholarships and financial aid makeup only a small difference of what has to be paid.

One thing that I have tried to figure out is that this makes no economic sense. The standard repayment plan for federal student loans puts borrowers on a 10-year track to pay off their debt, but research has shown the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off loans. If people are spending hard-earned money on paying back something they did 10 plus years ago, then how does it help the economy?

Student loan debt continues to hinder economic growth (cartoon done by Dave Granlund)

The key for a 16-year old student right now is to do three things: get good grades at an academic level that challenges you, score well on the ACT, and work to save. Cut back spending on fast food, coffee, and clothes and put your money in a savings account.

As stated earlier, college is the most important investment someone can make. But the return on that investment will continue to grow smaller as the price of college continues to sky rocket.