Higher education has long been deemed an almost necessary tool to succeed in this day and age. Going back as far as middle-school, I can remember my teachers preaching that you’ll never get anywhere without a college degree.
Perhaps they were a little more dramatic about it than was necessary, but their message was clear: most employers need to know that you’ve graduated from a higher education institution before they can even consider hiring you. It’s the system that’s in place and you’re probably better off accepting the wisdom of your previous teachers than to go against the grain and try to earn a respectable living without a degree. Not to say that it can’t be done, it just makes things that much easier when you’ve eliminated what can serve as a roadblock to many career paths.
For many though, the idea of coughing up the amount of money it takes to attend a four-year institution is overwhelming and in some cases unmanageable. To counter this, the government provides loans and grants to those who can’t afford an education on their own.
With the combination of financial aid and public institutions that offer a relatively inexpensive cost, the system is designed so that even those less fortunate can get an education. In recent years though, it has been shifting away from this ideal. Rising tuition and increased fees are making the idea for some that they could receive an adequate education despite a poor economic status unattainable.
Even a school like CCSU, which boasts itself as an affordable option, is not exempt from the escalating college costs that are trending nationally. The Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education is voting tomorrow on whether or not to approve a 5.1 percent increase for in-state commuters and a 4.1 percent rise for in-state and out-of-state residential students. The board has said on numerous occasions that given the state’s economic issues, some sort of increase is inevitable.
And while it may be easy for some to scoff at what would equate to about an extra $800 a year for students, this is a trend that has been happening for the last couple of years. When you add that up it’s certainly not just a matter of $800. At what point are some people unable to fund the hefty price tag that college entails?
Even the Student Government Association on campus hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Is Your Degree Worth What You’re Paying For It?” The unanimous consent amongst the panelists was that it is still beneficial to earn a degree. But it’s still somewhat troublesome that we have to even consider the possibility that it may not be.
We have accepted for a while that education is the key to any society’s prosperity, but with the rising costs associated with earning a degree, this may not be a plausible option for many. Where does that leave our future as a nation?
In times of economic distress we cannot further exacerbate the issue by denying the underprivileged the right to go to college. We, as a country, must find a way to make higher education a viable option for our youth whom will serve as the leaders of tomorrow.