Economic hardships should not impede college aspirations


Sasha Vassilyeva, co-opinions editor

There are a billion different things to consider when choosing a college to attend: quality of education, size, location, housing, campus, etc. For me, one of the most important aspects of the place I will spend the next four years is how much it will cost.

For me, choosing a college has been the definition of stressful and now that I have narrowed it down to two, I can’t say that it’s gotten any easier. While I am nearly completely in love with one school, I have not been able to commit because the other school is cheaper.

For some, cost may not have as much of an impact on a college decision. For me, it is nearly everything because, unlike many students, I will be paying my own college tuition. While I definitely prefer one college over the other, I have to seriously consider the amount of debt that is going to fall on the shoulders of this soon-to-be-broke college kid.

If you’re on the end of the spectrum where your parents are going to pay your college tuition, great. You have the chance to get the most out of your college experience, so don’t take it for granted. Not only that, but don’t take the actual education for granted. While many students get to go to their dream college or university, for other students, paying to get a higher education can be so much of a burden that they simply cannot afford to go through with it.

We are lucky enough to live in a place that offers students a great education with many experienced teachers and wonderful opportunities. Hold on to that and make the most of it. Don’t drop the ball on your schoolwork just because you know that your future education costs will be covered for you no matter what.

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum however, I encourage you not to give up on your education. I don’t mean to come off sounding mom-like here, but just because your financial situation may not be at the same level of those around you, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to and cannot get the same opportunities.

Though they may not be traditional or not what the people around you are doing, there are many routes you can take and things you can do to get an education past high school, despite financial hardships. One option could be attending a community college for two years (an option that I have considered myself) to fulfill prerequisite requirements or general education credits. This is great for those who want to continue their education without having to leave college with an insane amount of debt.

But for now, as cheesy as it may sound, work hard, study and get through high school trying your best (and hopefully getting decent grades). The way you perform in high school will determine how much money you will receive from colleges (merit based scholarships, grants, etc.), which can greatly ease the financial burden that you may feel when choosing a college to attend or deciding whether or not to go to college at all. You may not understand it yet, but hard work really does, literally and figuratively, pay off.

New York becomes first state to provide free four-year college tuition

Andrew Cuomo, New York governor, signed a bill that provides free tuition to students attending the state’s public colleges and universities on April 12, according to PBS.

The program, known as the Excelsior Scholarship, will fund the tuition of students whose families make less than $100,000 – an annual income cap which will change to $125,000 in two years. Students must also be enrolled in a four-year college or university full time to be eligible for this program.

This program will fund tuition only, meaning students will have to use other resources to pay for room, board and other university fees, and will cover tuition that has not already been paid for by other grants.

According to PBS, discussions are now being held in Rhode Island about taking similar measures by making two years of college free for in-state students. This scholarship would fund tuition of full-time students but unlike the New York program, would fund tuition for either two years at a community college or the last two years at a university. Rhode Island’s program would cover tuition for students at public colleges regardless of income.