With first trimester officially over, the deadline for college applications is looming on the horizon. A large majority of seniors at San Luis Obispo High School are applying to California State Universities, or out of state schools. Whether the school they get into is in New York or California, or the degree they get is in medicine or fashion design, many seniors at SLOHS will graduate with one thing in common: student debt.
According to Cnbc, roughly 70 percent of Americans graduate college with student debt. The debt of all Americans combined reaches approximately 1.4 trillion dollars. State schools, such as the University of California, Los Angeles, and University of California, San Diego, which were once thought of as affordable options, have increased tuition significantly in the last ten years. In 2006, the tuition for UCLA was $5,406 a year, and by 2016, it increased to $12,705. The cost of college and the fear of debt has caused many students to second guess their college plans.
“I could potentially get into my dream school, and then not be able to go, because my family can’t afford it,” said senior J’aime Radding.
A college education is nearly essential to surviving in the highly competitive job force of the modern world. On top of this, going to college offers a variety of experiences that everybody should be able to enjoy, regardless of financial status. Trying to better oneself should not be punished with crippling debt. A student who is equally or more deserving of getting into a specific school should not be prioritized below somebody who is less qualified with more money.
There have been steps taken toward making college more affordable, specifically in California. Governor Jerry Brown signed a law in October that would make the first year at community college free. Some students feel as though debt is a price they are willing to pay in order to attend the school and obtain the degree they want.
“Although student loans are something we all dread and are fearful of, it’s something I’m willing to invest in because the value of my education is important to me, and the value of my education will increase in the future,” said senior Hayden Shannon.
College should be affordable, and debt should not influence one following dreams they have had since they were young. Although we are making progress towards a more affordable college experience in the United States, we still have a long way to go.