Tuition hikes threaten low-income students

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Kaylee Pierce
CONTRIBUTOR

With tuition increases, college is now becoming a luxury rather than a necessity. What once was an ideal option after graduating high school, college is now a cause for stress and broken piggy banks.

College has always been viewed as expensive, but these last few years have raised it to a new level. It seems every year it costs more and more. It’s gotten to the point where college is for those who either have the money readily available or have spectacular financial aid packages.

Tuition increases are no laughing matter. For financially insecure families who want bright futures for their kids, these increases make college nothing more than that – a want.

Many students will walk away from college with a degree but also a massive amount of debt. Financial aid can only cover a small portion of the cost of an education. Some scholarships, such as the Susan Thompson Buffett scholarship increase a little with rising school costs. For me, that’s my reason for staying here.

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For students with well-off families, there aren’t many options that don’t involve massive loans, fees, hidden costs and interest. There are only so many scholarships and grants that students qualify for and actually receive. College is becoming more like a dream than ever and if you can’t afford it, you can’t go.

Something needs to be done. In the 2014-15 school year, there was a proposed tuition freeze for Nebraska students. If tuition would freeze or remain close to the same, it would make college available for financially unstable students.

Finding and receiving financial aid help should also be easier. Trying to find free money should be a lot easier for students who don’t have a lot of outside help. Most schools have some basic programs that will help a student apply for a few things here and there but that’s it. It’s difficult to know where to look, how to apply and how to achieve.

College doesn’t have to be just for those who can easily afford it. If those who offer great scholarships spoke out and communicated with more and more students, it would be a great starting point. If schools really took that extra time and helped students dig deeper, look harder and really apply themselves more, this could help students find ways to fight the rising tuition.

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