College financial system continues to worsen

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Senior year. The time where everyone gets excited to finish out their high-school careers and move on to college. October brings nothing but stress, pushing for letters of recommendation and loads of school-specific essays. The first major step every individual takes toward adulthood begins this year. Excitement, apprehension and curiosity flow through the minds of students and parents alike. December hits, and early action and early decision letters begin to see release. As spring approaches, regular-decision notifications start to take over the worries of many students.

Some see their futures unfold right in front of their eyes as they are accepted into their dream school, the one university they’ve been hoping to attend since ninth grade and maybe even before that. Others, however, watch their dreams morph into a harsh reality in which they are rejected from their top university. Several aspects behind the college situation are unfortunate.

First of all, it is sad to watch society hold an aggregate of young minds to a strange standard that basically says if you do not attend college or higher education, you’re unlikely to succeed financially in this world, yet are unable to provide the support necessary to fund a college education. There is a vast number of current high-school students who are creative and talented beyond the walls of a classroom. Obviously, there are myriad majors available throughout a variety of colleges, but there is still a vast number of individuals who are just not a great fit for college.

We aren’t saying college is bad in any way. However, we believe the social standard students are held to by society and the financial system college is centered around should be amended. There should be a more efficient means of finding the money to support your education, as opposed to taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and applying for a plethora of random scholarships. We do not believe there is one obvious solution that would solve this issue, but we are rather striving to raise societal awareness about the stressful standard students are held to in modern education. Sure, it may be clear that many middle- and lower-class families are unable to fund their child’s college education. Now, though, college has become so costly that even those who are considered wealthy cannot afford it.

According to research by the Institute for Higher Education Policy, even families earning more than $100,000 a year can’t afford nearly 60 percent of U.S. colleges. How can we push our students in high school to the highest standard of rigor, instilling the idea in everyone’s minds that if we do not attend college then we are basically failing in life, yet cannot find a way to make it affordable for everyone?

It’s bad enough that we deal with everyday struggles. Either the entire financial system behind colleges — mainly public universities — needs to be changed in a way that doesn’t force students into unpayable debt or society needs to alter its standards and encourage those who are not fortunate enough to attend higher education to pursue their dreams in a way that will lead to a new wave of success.