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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Understanding how tuition differs for different students

Sure, college is expensive. No one is going to argue that point. As college seniors students are often more concerned about their social or academic status than the financial implications of college. College is not for everyone, but education is. Everyone deserves the right to an education. For some, college is free. For those who are academically gifted, college often is paid in scholarships. Some students obtain scholarships through their university or from outside funds, but until that tuition is paid, students cannot step foot into a classroom. Learning how to pay for college can be a pain. At 18, not all students even know how to drive yet. We ask a lot of young adults, especially when it comes to taking on crippling debt.

Debt has to be paid, which is why financial companies are so quick to provide students with loans. Students must understand before signing for a loan what they are getting themselves into. Not all students are economically able to pay for college on their parent’s income. Many students coming to college are actually viewing it as a way out of poverty. For first-generation college students stricken with a poverty lifestyle, college might be their first experience in an educated population. Many first generation college students do not know their voice when it comes to academia, but due to the financial issues they have faced being economically disadvantaged their entire lives, they often have sharp minds that are prone to being problem solvers. When we think of tuition, we have to think of all types of students.

Luckily for these students, they are often able to obtain some type of grant-funding, but for places like the United States, they require that students put down their parents income on FAFSA. (Free application for student federal aid) This seems like a wise way to decide which students receive the most assistance, but for parents of poverty-stricken families, they sometimes may have lacked the technology skills available to fill out the form for their children or they are lacking in the actual means of obtaining internet to fill out the application itself. FAFSA workers should start thinking more about the families conditions who they are trying to help rather than numbers. Quantitative analysis means nothing without qualitative concerns in social sciences. Situational concerns must always be taken into account when it comes to assessing students financial need. There is no way students can jump a tax bracket or make their way out of poverty if they can’t even afford the school they want to go to. The current educational climate of higher institutions is highly in favor of upper middle class families who can afford to help their children in school. Tuition affects all families differently which can also affect student grades. For students who have parents that can not afford to help with their tuition they are often forced to have to work part or even full time while in school to make ends meet. This often means that are overworked and thus might not have time for their studies.

When diving deeper into the culture of the situation, students who work while in school, might turn to loans as an alternative without really understanding how they are going to pay back their loans. Federal loans tend to have lower interest rates but can only be used when parents fill out FAFSA on time. Private loans often come with skyrocket interest rates that are hard to pay back after graduation. Students should really research what type of loans are available before applying and signing their promissory notes.

Some places might provide reasonable tuition like JC economics tuition. When students start searching for schools, more academically and financially advantaged students might first look at larger and more expensive schools because it is what their parents or teachers want them to do. But with the large school name only comes the recognition. A degree is still a degree. The school it comes from does not really matter. Many scholars can argue that schools with higher tuition are able to provide students with a better quality of education and research facilities, but what cannot be argued is that students who go to a division one university have the same degree as a student going to a division two or division three school. That R1 ranking is amazing to have for research institutions, but they still have the same degree title as students who went to a university without that ranking. It needs to be understood that higher education institutions are businesses. They are there to make money to give back to students, but also, again, to make money.

All students and people deserve the right to an education. For those students who just cannot afford the larger institutions, they might have to pick a smaller school with lower tuition, and that is okay. All types of education are important for students.  

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