Economic Obstacles to College Graduation Research Paper

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Economic Obstacles to College

Economic Obstacles to Gradation

"Education pays in higher earnings and [lower] unemployment rates," claims the United States Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics). On average, a bachelor's degree makes $1,038 more per week and experience a 5.4% unemployment rate, a far less unemployment rate than those with associate degrees, high school diplomas or less than a high school diploma (Bureau of Labor Statistics). To further the importance of attaining a college degree, The College reported that "college grads earned approximately $22,000 more in 2008 than those without a college diploma, and the unemployment rate is nearly 3% less for people with a college degree" (Fierro). With statistics like the ones reported, along with the desire to make more money and have a stable job, there is an increase in the amount of people seeking college degrees. But, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of a student trying to attain a college degree. For instance, "two of every three low-income students attending college will quit before graduation" due to "daunting obstacles" that "often derail & #8230;students -- unfamiliarity with the college environment, insufficient preparation, culture-shock, a lack of ongoing social support, the wrong choice of college, demands brought about by family circumstances" as "setbacks large and small often abruptly end a promising student's college career" (Bright Prospect, 2011). The benefits of getting a college are luring too many but there are a myriad of different things that can stand in the way of someone attaining a bachelors degree including personal barriers, as well as economic obstacles and barriers that get in the way of attaining a college degree.

Foremost, a main economic obstacles that stands in the way of individuals attaining their college degree are the basic costs that are incurred with getting a degree, including tuition and books. Though the U.S. economy has experienced significant troubles, but it "has not stopped universities and colleges from raising tuition" which is definitely a factor standing in the way of people attaining their college degree (Fierro). With tuition costs on the rise in times of economic trouble, it is increasingly difficult for people to pay the tuition bills. For an average public school, over the past year, tuition "increased by 7.9% to $7,605, compared to an average 4.5% increase at private universities, with an average price of $27, 293" but, if room and board is also added into the college experience then the average tuition "rose 6.1% year over year to $16,140" (Fierro). For four-year private universities, total costs, including room and board have increased approximately "4.3% to an average of $36,993" (Fierro). Increasing tuition costs are certainly something that would be an obstacle to attaining a college degree. Despite working hard and having a job, it may not be enough to pay for college every year. Though, some people may attempt to get college loans, in the current state of the economy it seems that loans are harder to come by and are offered at higher interest rate which makes it more difficult for individuals to pay it off in the long-term. The increased rate of defaults on federal loans has increased over the last few years, with an 8.9% default rate in 2009, an increase from the 7.0% default rate in 2008 (Luzer). The increase in the default rate is indicative of the difficulties to keep up with college loan payments in the current state of the economic strife that the U.S. is experiencing. Without tuition payments, colleges do not allow students to stay in classes which delay an individual's journey to attaining a college degree. Another possible route is that students simply drop out of school because they cannot afford the tuition costs associated with attaining a college degree.

To further the costs of college, and add another obstacle to attaining a college degree, the cost of books has also been increasing which forces college degree seekers to incur extra costs. "Textbooks prices have been rising at double the rate of inflation for the past two decades, according to a Government Accountability Office study," reports The Washington Post (Kinzie). The textbook prices have increased at such a rate that The Washington Post article also reports that some students completely forgo the textbooks and take a chance by hoping that attending lectures will be enough to pass classes (Kinzie). In addition to the tuition costs, it is reported that "students at four-year schools spent, on average, about $900 for books and supplies in 2003-04, more than a quarter of the cost of tuition and fees. At community colleges, the GAO study found, the books amounted to almost three-quarters of the cost" (Kinzie). With statistics like that, it seems like another obstacle for students to complete college successfully. For example, when an art student in Washington DC was asked to buy $195 dollar textbook, she drew the line as she claimed it could be better spent on her two children, ages six and four (Kinzie). The cost of purchasing textbooks for college is another economic obstacle for students attaining a college degree. The costs associated with the core requirements in college, including tuition and books, and the optional room and board are costs that are most certainly on the rise, despite the economic state of the U.S. These prove to be detrimental obstacles to the process of attaining that coveted college degree.

Furthermore, other obstacles and barriers include the miss-preparation for college courses which could potentially lead to more costs being incurred. College holds students to a higher level of education and intellect, something that not all high schools in the country do. The issue with college is that it might be easier to get in, than actually sustain oneself through the rigor of college classes. "It's pretty clear academic preparation is the single most important thing prior to college" asserts a Syracuse University professor of education (Chute). It seems counterintuitive but "even students with good high school grades can struggle in college" (Chute). The biology chair at a university in Pennsylvania sais that "some who received good high school grades by studying just a few hours a week weren't challenged and therefore don't know how to study or work hard" (Chute). For example, in Georgia, "about a third of students who win Hope scholarships -- based on 3.0 grade point averages in high school- at least temporarily lose their awards after the first semester in college because their averages fall below a B" (Chute). Though, some students may try to reduce the costs of attaining a college degree, it seems easier said than done. The preparation that the students get before college plays a large part in the impending costs that are associated with the college- even college scholarships that could possibly ease the burden of college costs, are in jeopardy because of poor preparation for college. To that end, students may fail certain courses and therefore, would be forced to retake the classes in order to attain their degree. Repeating classes is expensive and might lead students to drop out and therefore, would be another possible obstacle in attaining a college degree.

Finally, in addition to the obvious economic obstacles in college, there is also the seemingly essential college component of having a social life. College is one of the times in an individual's life that friends from all walks of life- from different neighborhoods, from different communities, high schools, states, and countries. The cost associated with having a social life in college is also substantial. As some students do have jobs, it is possible that their income does not always cover the cost of living associated with a college social life. It has been deduced that an average college student spend about "$211 per month of discretionary spending" (Martindale). College students, according to Martindale, "spend more than 11 billion dollars a year on snacks and beverages" (Martindale). The costs that are associated with the daily living expenses are quite significant and do add up over time. Further costs that are associated with college include the electronics and technology that help students get through the college in the technology driven society that the U.S. education system fosters. "Students rely on technology to access information, communicate with friends and keep themselves entertained" and these expenses are not seen as luxuries but rather, necessities (Martindale). It is estimated that a "majority of college students (90%) own a computer, and two-thirds (65%) of those students have a broadband connection. 62% of college students own a stereo, a cell phone (77%), a printer (77%), and a television (84%)" with a "a large portion of income goes to cell phone service, which 85% of students have. The majority of students with cell phone service pay for extras such as text messaging (62%) and internet access through their mobile phone (41%)" (Martindale). With more advanced technology, professor use these resources to benefit their students but may neglect that these technologies do cost money and further add onto the… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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