Costs don’t add up

While I sit at my desk writing this editorial on a Friday night, it has become painfully obvious to me that people have unrealistic expectations for students. A lot of people I know are working 40 hours a week trying to pay for tuition while they’re enrolled in a full course load.

Others are accumulating so much debt that the value of their university degree is becoming increasingly questionable as the years go by. Some are lucky enough to have wealthy parents who can pay for their education. But for the rest of us, it’s a tough obstacle to overcome.

Tuition costs often influence academic performance at school because the time students spend at work is time they don’t have to study or go to class. They end up skipping classes to work in restaurants and retail stores to finance their education. Then professors are surprised when students don’t do their readings every week, and students are disappointed because they can’t achieve the perfect scores they had in high school. How does that make any sense?

When you think about it, tuition is an unfair thing to ask from someone straight out of high school, who hasn’t had the opportunity to make money yet. It’s basically cornering people in need of a service and putting them in debt before they even have a chance. Educating people shouldn’t be a business. It should be free for anyone who is sincerely interested in it.

Let’s face the facts. Not everyone who goes to university actually wants to be there and tons of people who aren’t attending really wish they could, but don’t have the means to do so. It’s unfair that universities let financial backgrounds take precedence over the hard work students put into school.

I have a friend who works one semester and studies every other semester. We graduated from high school at the same time. I’m in my fourth year and he’s still in his second year. I admire his dedication. But I can’t help but be angry that his education presents such a financial stress that he needs to interrupt his learning to finance his way through. At this rate he’ll be out of his mom’s basement by 25—at the earliest.

In some countries like Scotland and France, tuition costs are largely subsidized by the government. An average Scottish student’s tuition varies from $0 up to $2,000 depending on parental income. However, in the US, tuition costs can range up to a whopping $60,000 per year. I don’t understand how tuition could cost so much when some places are capable of making it accessible for everyone. Where is the tuition money going anyway? I don’t feel like it’s always targeted towards things I agree with.

Personally, I could do without the abundance of plasma TVs in the ARC. Most people aren’t watching them and there are always 3 or 4 on the same channel. Is that necessary? I mean, it’s not a Future Shop, it’s a freaking gym. Meanwhile, budget cuts are restricting the classes we can take, and students are working too hard to pass.

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