Cost of Higher Education: Modern Day Slavery

Many students entering university cannot afford tuition and books unless they work full, time, meaning their education has to take a backseat after work, something many people don’t want to sacrifice, especially since they worked so hard to get into the school in the first place. This leaves them with no choice but to take out student loans. This problem, commonly faced by many college students, highlights the rapidly escalating cost of education. Graduates are placing themselves in indentured servitude to institutions providing the educational loans. “Colleges and universities have been increasing the costs for students to attend their respective schools, subsequently increasing the amount of debt these students take on as student loans. Reports have shown that borrowers who finished college in the early 1990s were able to maintain managing their student loans without an enormous burden”

College loans are so massive now they don’t match the benefits of the education anymore, similar to health insurance premiums. “The average debt has increased 58% since over the past seven years. It has risen from $17,233 in 2005 to $27,253 in the United States. According to the Student Debt Crisis, within the past three decades the cost of attaining a college degree has drastically increased by more than 1,000 percent. If student debt had stayed constant with inflation since 1992, graduates would not be facing such burdens by student loans.”

It begs the question, what does it mean to be educated, and at what cost to ourselves, including sacrificing physical and mental health to achieve this education? Education from a top tier school has become something of a luxury in these times, or at least something so highly idealized that one is willing to go to extreme lengths to gain admission, even putting themselves and their families in debt, potentially for life, to attain a degree. It appears that those who can afford to attend without debt have a better chance of utilizing their degree in school and out. As an example: most students can’t afford to do unpaid internships, which could really benefit their careers in the long run, because they can’t afford to make ends meet if they do this. Unfortunately, a degree from a prestigious university doesn’t even guarantee you’ll get your foot in the door anywhere anymore. One becomes enslaved, whether it be to the job with the largest salary, taken only for the money, enabling a more rapid repayment of the student loans, or the low paying job you just can’t quit to find a better one because every hour is money if you don’t want to default on your student loans, becoming further in debt.

Those should not be the end results of a university education. The point of education is to learn, achieve self direction, find your own values, your passion, mature, gain wisdom, and then share that knowledge with future generations, so that we may all become enlightened individuals over time. Ok, so maybe thats a shade idealistic, but with the amount of money you’re investing in your education, it should at least pan out as a good investment, and if its not, then the investment should be reevaluated. I think its worth it to check out universities that provide many if not all classes for free or at a greatly reduced cost to the student such as the University of the People, and The Open University. Those are the big ones, but there are others out there less well known that are tuition free if you donate a set amount of hours working on campus while an enrolled student. Sadly, it seems as if modern institutions of higher education are just churning out cogs for the wheels of capitalism.

Touryalai, Halah , 1 Trillion Student Loan Problem Keeps Getting Worse” Forbes, Retrieved July 2015

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