The Eagle Way

College: A Rich Kid’s Sport

How the cost of college limits our potential

Jenna Burgesser, Editor in Chief

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So, what are your plans for next year? Oof. The one question every senior is dreading right now. Yet, when we see our relatives, or our distant friends, or Joe from the grocery store, we are asked this same question. College. Sure, it might be the most exciting time of our lives, but getting there is not something that I will fondly look back on when I’m eighty.

Okay, okay… so applying isn’t all that bad (for the most part).  Actually, it’s pretty easy. I was able to apply to Metro State University in under ten minutes while simultaneously lifeguarding at my local pool. In hindsight, that may not have been the most responsible idea, but you get my point. So, if applying to college is fairly straightforward, then why am I whining? Simple. Money.

You see, while starting this new chapter of my life is exciting and all, money has been a real put down when thinking about where I want to spend the next four years of my life . College has become ridiculously expensive. An article from CNBC illustrates that some schools have more than doubled in tuition over the past twenty years. While factors such as inflation do play a role in this increase, it is still nearly unfathomable for most kids to attend certain schools such as NYU, Duke, or even UCLA.

So, we do what us teenagers do best: ask for money. Scholarships, grants, student loans… ugh. Just thinking about this kind of stuff makes me want to go back to learning the ABC’s in kindergarten. It’s daunting—but it’s necessary. I mean, we’ve been preparing all of high school for this moment. We’ve joined clubs, sports, received good grades, volunteered… but how far will this get us? Well, depending on your own history, as well as the school that you’re applying to, it could vary. Some might receive scholarships that cover nearly all of their tuition. Others might see only a few thousand dollars. This makes sense. If you try hard in school and create an impressive resume, you’re likely to see more beneficial grants than those who chose to go to Starbucks instead of math class each day. However, even if you are at the top of the class, or the star athlete, will it still be enough?

Money has limited my choices so much so that I am basically stuck with only a few that are more “realistic”, especially for my career choice. I found my dream school, Embry-Riddle, located on the beach in Florida with beautiful facilities and one of the best programs in the country. I know I would thrive there. I know I’m smart enough to go there. But I also know that I am definitely not rich enough. Instead, I will likely be going to MSU, just a twenty minute drive away from home. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a wonderful school and I’m very lucky to have it as an option, but it makes the other one look like a far-off fantasy in a distant land across the country. Comparatively, attending MSU for four years will be nearly equal to just one semester at Embry-Riddle. That’s right. My dream school is also my nightmare—adding up to over a quarter of a million dollars in student debt by the time I graduate.

So while money may be a real downer, I’d rather go to a school that is smart financially so I won’t be paying it back for the rest of my life.

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College: A Rich Kid’s Sport