Higher Education for the Masses

June - Plymouth, Minnesota
Entered on May 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Being a senior and trying to push through the last month of high school without slacking off is extremely challenging. Especially since AP tests are almost done, and now, all the students need only to wait for graduation. But with nothing else to talk about, most seniors have started discussing their future. Many have finalized their college choice, and are trying to find out which colleges the upcoming graduates will attend come next year.

Of course, I have also been wondering what my friends and classmates will do after they graduate—most of the seniors said they were going to college. And as I grilled them with questions about where they will go, why they chose that place, etc, I find many of them giving similar answers.

The people I asked applied to public post-secondary institutions. These institutions ranged from the local community colleges to the University of Minnesota. Classmates who were enthusiastic about the University in March, aren’t so sure now about costs of attendance. Most are finding some way in order to lessen the impending college debt.

One friend was explaining to me that she will be attending the University of Minnesota next year, which is a very good school to get into. But she told me with a slight crease in her brow, “I can’t afford housing there.” She then proceeded to say something around the gist of, ‘Why don’t you get it? My family doesn’t have that kind of money. The tuition is high enough’. In order for her to obtain a quality education, she must give up her dream of not only being on her own, but also getting her own place independent from the family.

A classmate mentioned that community college would be much cheaper, and he plans to go there first, and then transfer to the University of Minnesota.

I read an interview on the Minnesota Daily with Bob Bruininks, president of the University of Minnesota about the tuition prices at the U of M. He mentioned that tuition for the upcoming year will likely increase 5.5 percent, with the legislature reducing the budget still more in higher education spending. Not only that, but the additional fees are increasing.

I believe that if our state legislatures could allocate more funding for public education, then our post-secondary schools would be able to give more financial assistance and scholarships in larger amounts, like the Founders Free Tuition Scholarship.

I believe society will benefit from having more college-educated people, and I believe individuals who are college-educated will benefit in society. As the saying goes, it’s a two-way street.

I believe knowledge and wisdom should not come at a high price, but when that does happen, the public needs to let this be known—higher education is indispensable.