What’s the Real Price of College

By: JULIA ZARO

Page 915 – EVOKE.ie

What does college really cost? College is just 4-6 years of paying tuition, living fees, books/supplies, and etc. Financial aids don’t even cover half of the fees. People spend their whole lives paying off college fees when in reality they don’t even go into the field that they majored in. The average person changes career paths 7 times in their lifetime, and that’s after college. So what is even the point of college? Is there even a point to it; you might have some gainful knowledge, but does it matter if you can’t even get a job in the same field? 

Most people don’t even realize that just applying to college costs money. According to US News & World Report,  “the average college application fee in 2016 was $43, while $50 was the most common application fee amount. The most expensive schools have fees around $80 to $90, including Stanford University, Duke University and Columbia University.” According to Shannon Lee in her article College Application Fee Waivers,  “simply applying to college can be an expensive undertaking.There’s the cost of standardized tests, the application fee and travel costs for campus visits. Before you know it, you may have to spend $100 or more for each school you apply to. One way to reduce this financial burden is to obtain an application fee waiver.” She goes on to say,  “For students who obtain a fee waiver or can afford to apply to more schools, applying to six or 10 schools isn’t uncommon. A student who applies to 10 schools (two safety schools, two probable schools and six reach schools) can easily spend over $500 on application fees, assuming no fee waivers were used.”  Not everyone can afford to apply to that many schools, and that is just applying to in-state schools. 

For all the trouble of applying to colleges and traveling, a lot of people just drop out. According to College Atlas,  “56% of college students who started at a 4-year college drop out by year 6 of their college career.” Full-time students are 55% less likely to drop out of college than students who go to school exclusively part-time. Students who start college before turning 20 have a 13-22% lower chance of dropping out than those who start college after turning 20. 70% of Americans will study at a 4-year college, but less than 2/3 will graduate with a degree. 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year of college. On average, a college dropout earns 35% or $21,000 less each year than a college graduate. Being unable to balance school, jobs, and family is cited as one of the top reasons for dropping out of college. 40% of college dropouts have parents who do not have a degree higher than a high school diploma. Those without a college degree are 2X more likely to be unemployed than those with a college degree. “College dropouts still have to pay their debt, but not nearly as much as graduates.” In a recent article by Abigail Hess she explains the average student debt; Cengage found that 51% of the recent and soon-to-be college graduates surveyed have student loan debt, with an average reported total of $22,919 in student loans upon graduation. And some estimate these totals may be even higher. According to Student Loan Hero, 69% of students from the Class of 2018 took out student loans, graduating with an average debt balance of $29,800. And according to the College Board, the average cumulative student debt balance in 2017 was $26,900 for graduates of public four-year schools and $32,600 for graduates of private nonprofit four-year schools. ̈ Here are the average fees of college(in-state). In an article on admission.universityofcalifornia.edu, it gives the yearly costs of college.  ̈Tuition and fees – 14,100, books and supplies – 1,200, health insurance – 2,800, room and board – 16,500, and transportation – 2,100. In total that is $36,700 per year. 

Now for 4-6 years of college, you should have a job lined up. It’s sad that most students don’t get jobs in their fields until a year after graduation, or get stuck with a lower cut job that doesn’t even require a degree. In an article on washington.edu it explains how hard it is to secure a job.  ̈There is a myth that if you have a college degree, you have a job. The fact is that approximately 53% of college graduates are unemployed or working in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. It takes the average college graduate three to six months to secure employment after graduation. A student benefits from having a career-seeking strategy and previous work experiences. Otherwise, they’re resume might be lost in a stack of hundreds for a specific job.

What’s the point of college if most dropout freshman year? College is stacked against students rather than being there to support them. Most students don’t even get the chance to choose their major before having to drop out due to expenses. Even if they can graduate, students are barely able to get jobs after graduation. A lot of students just get stuck with frustrating jobs that aren’t even in their major. How can anyone argue that college is worth the price? 

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