It’s tragic that we live in a capitalistic society in which college is a business. Students are working three jobs a day and attending school full-time only to graduate with a $100K-plus debt waiting for them beyond the gates of graduation.

It wasn’t always like this, however. There was a time in which the sole purpose of a college was to provide an education. But as part of the status quo, today these institutions are now digging into parents’ and students’ cash-strapped wallets to put endless amounts of money into the hands of college CEOs.

Some may contend, “Well, why do students buy into the system? Instead of complaining, just don’t go.”

That is indeed the problem. A college education will make or break you. In order to get a job that can allow you to survive, you must have a college education. Even at that, you aren’t guaranteed a job after graduation — a college degree is a gamble in which you have everything to lose, and potentially nothing to gain.

The campus of the University of California Los Angeles. The author complains that rising tuition costs are putting college out of reach to many.

Flickr: Ithmus

As a college student approaching her senior year, I see this occurring firsthand. I see classmates who are lucky to get an hour of sleep because they are working tirelessly in order to get that diploma. I see younger children wanting to go to college abroad but are forced to stay back because their parents simply can’t afford it.

Colleges continue to raise their tuition prices simply because they can — simply because they know that no matter what price they place on their product of a degree, students, the consumers, will be forced to follow through with the purchase.

“There are scholarships,” they say, “a college education can be funded.”

Having the ability to get a full-ride scholarship is just as rare as winning the lottery. That being said, students of low-income backgrounds are already at a disadvantage from the moment they are born. In order to receive a scholarship, you must excel in the classroom.

If you come from a low socio-economic background, you will be unable to put in after-school hours to get tutored or study for the SAT simply because you have bigger problems to worry about (i.e., eating or making sure you don’t die of dehydration). College essentially perpetuates the cycle of poverty we see in the status quo.

The Foundation Of Society

I’m not here to argue that college should be free. I am a firm believer that free education will negatively affect our school system and schools will be overcrowded with individuals who are taking advantage of the system.

The quality of education will decrease and our society will fall down a slippery slope. In addition, nothing in life comes free.

Colleges continue to raise their tuition prices simply because they can.

Alternatively, I think that college should be cheaper and there are measures that can be taken to ensure that individuals receive a degree without being burdened by an endless amount of debt. The reason people don’t attend college or choose to stop after four years is because it’s too expensive. A cheaper college education means a more educated nation and an overall more efficient and productive society.

Education is the foundation of society. The only way for us to combat the ever-growing endeavors that we are forced to faced (i.e., disease, climate change, etc.), is to provide the coming generations with a chance to reach their full potential. College should not be a business, but a place that fosters an environment filled with learning, creativity and hard work.

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