Rising college tuitions and unpaid student debts are rapidly becoming the new sources of fear for the middle class student enrolled in higher education. The middle class gives the illusion of being financially sound, but in recent years that has not always been the case. I strongly believe that it’s time for colleges to not only focus on helping low-income households to receive an education, but also those in the middle class. Rising tuitions can deeply impact students’ education, future endeavors and financial situations. Colleges should revamp their distribution of financial aid by adjusting thresholds and offering aid that extends to the middle class. The last thing I would want on my shoulders after the stress and hours of studying in the library for all four years of college is the weight of student loans.

People are barely making it. If you take a quick look around, some members of the middle class are suffering and are overburdened with hopelessness. If you don’t believe me, I will give you the harsh facts of reality amongst our surroundings. According to recent United States Census Bureau reports, the United States is considered one of the wealthiest countries compared to others in the world, and yet 76% of our citizens live a paycheck-to-paycheck life, whilst 29% of workers have less than $1,000 tucked away. The United States Census Bureau also reported that the median income in America has shown a decrease from $56,000 to $51,000 in the last 15 years.

Last year’s graduates reflected the most indebted class ever, so I can’t even imagine this year’s estimated amount of debt. I am personally terrified of my own financial future given that millions of graduates suffer from huge debts. Going to a college does not guarantee you a job by any means and I know multiple scholars who are unable to find a job in the area they studied and have no alternative but to move back in with their parents and spend their nights in their childhood beds.

So the age-old question comes back into consideration, “Where exactly is our tuition money going and why is it necessary to continuously raise it? A major reason for tuition increases is because of college athletics. Reporter Cliff Peale of USA Today reported that the University of Cincinnati and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio recently dumped $6 million dollars into their sports program in order to preserve their competitive reputation. So what does this mean for the rest of the student body that does not get athletic scholarships? Naturally, a tuition increase.

Most collegiate sports do not bring in revenue; take, for example, how many people on this campus would pay to watch the golf team. No offense golfers, but not me. I have had my fair share of time on the green, and I cannot say that it was notably pleasant. But that does not matter because the team is financially funded. The deficit in the lack of revenue is covered by the tuition of other students. So let’s face the facts – if you’re not a Division I athlete that has potential to earn scholarship money that covers tuition, you are in trouble.

Meanwhile, a middle class student is racking up thousands of dollars in debt, because his or her family income does not qualify him or her for federal and state financial aid. Financial aid systems were created in order to increase enrollment and provide opportunity to those who suffer from financial barriers, but somewhere along the line the system has failed. A large increase in tuition has been responsible for middle class families no longer being able to afford for their child’s education. Without a doubt, colleges should change the way that they distribute their financial aid instead of just focusing on the low-income households. The debt produced by student loans already has staggered the future of many scholars, which is why all factors of a middle class family’s income should be taken into account.

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