My father never went to college. My mother works in a field unrelated to what she studied in college. Yet, almost every day of my life, I feel influenced by everybody around me to go to college. In this modern society I do not believe it's necessary to go into debt for a college degree because there are other viable options that can lead to success.
The stereotype that one is a failure if they do not go to college pushes many Americans to feel as if their only option is to go to college after high school. This feeling has led to a record-breaking $1.5 trillion of collective student loan debt in 2018, according to Federal Reserve data. The current cost of a college education is $63,973 more than it was 32 years ago, which is an increase of 161 percent, according to Market Watch.
Emily Stainer, the Chief Academic Officer at Match High School, graduated from college years ago, but the debt still follows her. “It worries me. It really does. Even my husband is still in debt,” Stainer said.
Stainer believes getting a college degree should be a backup plan and not a gateway to getting a job. “Imagine you lose your main job. If you had a college degree, you would surely be able to get another job,” she said. This point of view is a very valid one as, according to a study by The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major. Companies like Google and Apple no longer require a degree for many positions, according to the Consumer News and Business Channel. The absurd amount of debt people may obtain just to ensure they’re not poor, it’s far too much.
Alikhan Fabrice, a local student, dreams of attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is not concerned about the debt he might get into. “Well, to be frank, I don’t really care. All I know is that I’m going to get into MIT and get a good job,” said Fabrice. It is viewpoints like this that have caused staggering student loan debt in the U.S.
Saving for college while in high school is a difficult task. How is a student going to get a high paying job, save all the money for college and balance their academics? It is almost impossible to do this. Some teens are in better financial positions than others. For the teens in worse financial situations, there should be more scholarships and grants awarded than loans.
Canada, for example, offers college for free, and I think this is something America should offer as well. Many countries, in fact, offer college for free. Countries are able to offer college for free because the colleges are funded publicly by taxes. I personally wouldn’t mind a costlier tax. What’s a couple of extra dollars for free college?
Many teenage students like Johandy Ozuna agree. “If there are free colleges in Canada, in my opinion, I think there should be free colleges in America,” said Ozuna. He wouldn’t mind a higher tax for free college instead of wasting tax money on things like the death penalty. If America really raised their taxes to support free colleges, many people would support it as the new generation’s lives would benefit from this.