Tuition, Textbooks, and Financial Aid: A Proposal
Year after year and semester after semester, college has proved to be an expensive bill. With such expenses such as tuition, textbooks, dorms, parking passes, and meal plans, many students find it hard to gather enough money to continue their education and receive a promising degree. According to the College Board budget report for 2013-2014 school year, on average an in-state public college’s tuition costs $22,826 and private college tuition costs $44,750 a year (CollegeData.com). Because of this gross amount of money college requires, I propose the Senate and House of Representatives subtract a sum of their earnings received from extensive salaries by taxpayers and give a portion of the sum back to their states’ colleges and universities through Pell Grants.
The problem for most college students is that neither they nor their family earn enough money to pay for college expenses. According to an annual report by the U.S. census bureau, “the median annual household income in February 2014 was $53,093.” If you look at the cost for a public college above for one year, that equates to almost one half of your whole salary, and that’s just for tuition. To reinforce the average, here are three examples each of private and public institutions and their tuition rates for the 2014-2015 school year: Old Dominion University, the total cost of attendance including room and board, books and supplies, tuition and fees, plus other small expenses is $23,358 for in-state tuition (CollegeData.com), New York University, which includes everything is $42,472 for in-state tuition (Collegecalc.org), and for private universities, Washington and Lee, the total cost of attendance including everything for undergraduates is $61,310, and for law students $64,150 (wlu.edu), University of Notre Dame is $46,237 (colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com) and Liberty University is $28,618 (cappex.com). According to these statistics, a year’s worth of expenses for college could easily cost well over your achieved salary for the year for a median income family. This exact problem is why my proposal for decreasing the income for government officials including House and Senate and pursuing more Pell Grants would help increase a student’s ability to pursue college.
Another huge bill for college students each semester is the cost of textbooks. Every college student knows unless your professor is one of the few who either doesn’t use a textbook or online readings you can access for free, every class requires at least one, if not more textbooks each semester. Nevertheless, depending on the publisher, the course, and the bookstore or organization selling the book, textbooks are just another expense added onto the insane tuition costs. According to a report by Allie Bidwell, during the last decade, the price of textbooks has skyrocketed by 82% (1). In one survey which included over 2000 students from 33 states and 156 campuses, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group found that the average student spends at least $1,200 each year on textbooks and supplies alone. (Bidwell 1) This cost, of course, unless you have financial aid that covers everything, is another out of pocket