The price of an education at an upper echelon university is becoming somewhat of a joke. The median price for a top tier private university is near the $41k a year mark. That translates to about $164k for a four-year education. The cost for a state run school of equal caliber is about $26k a year approximately $104k for four years), that is if you are a resident of the state is in. If you are out of state resident wanting to attend the more affordable public school, it will cost you about the same as the private school to attend. Either way, you are asking students to make a 100 thousand to 200 thousand dollar investment into their education that will lead them into a job market that has a declining growth.
The high price of education is just another example of how the upper class is trying to price an education out of the grasp of the working class. By setting the cost of tuition at astronomical rates, it prevents people from lower class backgrounds from attending these universities. This process stifles the potential for success of these students in two very distinct ways. With costs well above what a dual income family makes in a year, it primarily puts the ability to afford school for these scholars that have painstakingly been admitted out of their reach, once again giving those with means not merit an upper hand. The second way it puts the lower classes at a disadvantage is it can financially destroy them before they even get started in their lives. For those students who are fortunate enough to secure loans or get money from grants are going to graduate with a tremendous amount of debt that will create a hole for them that will almost be impossible to get out of.
The inaccessibility of higher education will have several detrimental effects on the psyche of children in the future. The first and most severe is that the few that already dream of a four year university education will cease to have the desire to attend college. Seeing the frustration and insurmountable debt accumulated by their predecessors, they will have less incentive to want attend college because the long-term benefit of an education will no longer outweigh the short-term benefit of entering the work force immediately after high school. . It will create an impregnable chasm between those who have an education and are selected for management positions and those who will just be skilled laborers. It creates a damming effect that will stem the flow of people from working and lower class families to have the ability to cross the gap into middle and upper class through hard work.
The critics that say that the rising costs is a way to control the supply since the demand is so high is ridiculous. The idea that all students are starting from a level paying field and have an equal opportunity to attend college in the first place is asinine. The gap between the budgets of school districts in affluent neighborhoods and inner cities is widening. Local public schools even in middle class neighborhoods are not on equal footing with schools that have limitless budgets. The idea that merit based acceptance is the only way to judge students is ludicrous. The ability to get into and then afford university is based on a race and social-economic basis. Students who are White and do poorly in school but are from affluent families have a better chance of attending college than their minority counter parts who do better in school, but are from poor or low income families. Where is the “merit” in that?
The ever increasing divide that separates the classes is widening. The Republicans have argued throughout this 2012 campaign that the Democrats are running on a class warfare campaign. They should be, because class warfare has been waged from the GOP since the 80’s. The deregulation of industry, the assassination of union and collective bargaining, the destruction of public schooling, and the growing ability for banks to take advantage of their customers with phantom fees and astronomical interest rates that would make the most hardened loan sharks blush. We need to band together and say enough is enough. If we don’t stop fighting over gay marriage, abortion, and prayer in school, pretty soon we will have no voice in our government, no scientists and engineers of color, and no more moving from class to class is is supposed to be part of the American Dream. School is where we are supposed to learn a trade, build skills, acquire knowledge, acceptance for others, and have the ability to better ourselves. At this rate all we are doing is continuing to make the rich richer, and the poor just smart enough to not want to try.