January 30, 2014
Hamilton students moving from New York City to Clinton usually have to travel through Penn Station. In the center of the platform gates, they watch the list of arrivals, waiting for their train to take them to a better opportunity. Many students must witness the people left by the wayside, those who can only watch others board the train, while they remain sedentary, never able to move toward a better place. Unfortunately, this occurs every day, as many do not possess the means necessary to travel to their desired destination. Put yourself in their place, standing on the platform but unable to board the college express.
The rising tuition costs for college students have lowered the financial safety net for both private and public institutions. According to an article on U.S. News and World Report, the average tuition prices for private colleges and universities increased by 3.8 percent between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, making the average cost $30,090. However, the website stated that the average net price also jumped from $11,930 to $12,460 between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, an average increase of $265 per year, or a 2.13 percent net increase in the last three years.
While the average tuition prices for first-years entering four-year schools rises, the chances for students two or three grades behind them steadily falls. Without generous subsidies from the federal government, the income of a significant portion of American families cannot bear the financial weight of sending their children to a four-year school.
As all Hamilton students know, the cost of college education takes up a large portion of their family budgets. According to the Financial Aid Office website, students spend an average of about $45,620 on tuition fees, $6,400 for rooming, $5,310 for Board and $460 for Student Activity fees. This totals an average of $57,790 per year, not including the additional $3,800 predicted for books, supplies, miscellaneous personal expenses and travel. Thus, the average yearly cost for college education amounts to $61,590. For many, this rate is too steep, and these students require significant tuition funding just to attend a four-year community college, let alone one of the top liberal arts schools in the country.
The question remains, if the government will not develop a better option for these people left next to the tracks, who will? The answer lies within us.
As students, one of our main responsibilities should be to understand the significance of each dollar that goes toward our college education. In doing so, we can truly own our futures and the futures of thousands of prospective schools across the nation. The next time you are heading home, whether by train, plane or car, look out the window and observe the people on the sides longing for a way to get on the tracks toward a better future, toward a college education.