Column: Let’s talk about it

Let’s talk about how education is a privilege, not a right


As a senior in high school, my entire life is revolving around college. I feel like that is the only topic of discussion between everyone. However, one thing stands in the way of enjoying the thought of college… my phobia of student debt. I am not joking when I say that I have had nightmares about student loans and have physically shuddered when I hear about a school’s tuition cost. The price of college does not make education accessible for all people, and many high school students are deterred from pursuing an education beyond high school because of the insane expenses.

“The average cost of college has more-than doubled in the 21st Century, with an annual growth rate of 6.8%,” according to the Education Data Initiative. I have heard many adults argue that if an individual does not acquire some sort of college degree, they cannot succeed. I think that mindset is incredibly privileged and ignorant for many reasons. My family grew up in a situation where paying to go to a university directly out of high school was not feasible. Those family members served in the Armed Forces in order to gain money for an education. This should not have to occur for them to have access to something that many kids take for granted. College should not have to be a privilege.

“Among Hispanics ages 25-34, just 17.8 percent have a bachelor’s degree, compared with 43.7 percent of young white adults,” according to the National Center for Education Statistics. There is often a lack of opportunities for impoverished communities or diverse communities to gain knowledge about the college process. At my school, there are valuable resources to use when a student wants to learn about scholarships, FAFSA, or applications; however, this is not always the case for all areas. Universities need to accommodate the needs of lower income families who cannot even afford to pay the prices of application fees.

I am grateful for my opportunity to go to college in the near future. I will never take education for granted because many people in my family struggled to be able to pay for not only a college education, but high school education as well. In my personal experience, the finances surrounding college have definitely influenced my decisions based around where I want to go. I got accepted into my top school and I was so excited. The school would have provided me with great opportunities and outreach to accomplish my goals. Yet, I opened the acceptance letter and found that the cost to attend the university had increased since I applied and researched the college. By no means am I not grateful and excited for the university I plan to attend, but it is a little disheartening to hope for good news from a dream school and find out that although the work was put in to obtain the acceptance, I simply cannot afford to go. Again, I am still incredibly grateful that I even get to pursue a higher education at all because many members of my family had to work for years to get to this point. College should not have to be an idea or a dream to students. Education is a right and should be accessible to anyone who desires to go to school.