Paying for College. Cost should not be a roadblock.



Everyone knows this statement to be true: college is an expensive economic burden. In some cases, college becomes so costly that some forego the chance for a higher education due to the price tag alone. This should not be the case, as college is a great investment that should be available to everyone. To help relieve the burden of the cost, there are scholarship agencies, job opportunities, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) services and, more recently, the community college opportunity that President Barack Obama released in his State of the Union address. The raw truth is that cost should never be a hindrance to receiving a college education.

Even though the general thought of a community college education is not a respected one, President Obama stated that over 40 percent of students choose community college over the classic university. Many of those students see Obama’s opportunity as a way to pay for college while not taking out student loans, which could take an entire lifetime to pay off. Because of this, the Obama Administration is seeking to implement a system in which community college is tuition-free for all interested students. If the system were successfully implemented, the price burden of college would disappear. Without the inconvenience of prices, everyone interested in a college education should be able to receive one.

The community college route isn’t the only available segue to a college education. FAFSA provides aid to students who are either below the poverty level or have money issues at home so they can afford the college education they want. The organization checks tax information from the parents and gives the students however much aid they see fit. Another route to look into is taking multiple Advance Placement (AP) classes. In large universities, high AP exam scores often translate into college credits and cut either whole semesters or years off your time in college, which would in turn translate to saving literally thousands of dollars in tuition and fees. Doing well in AP classes could also come with merit scholarships, which reduce the price burden even more. Even though many find it difficult to do well in a college-level class, the rewards are so great that it is worth a try. For almost no cost, you could be shaving off a large fraction of the price of a college education and still come out with the same college degree.

For some people with difficulties in paying for college, enrolling in a high-level class may be even harder due to their situation. An alternative to those who struggle with grades is finding a job. In Indiana, minors who are at least 14 years old can be employed with a work permit. In other words, a 14-year-old can start earning money and eventually accumulate an ample amount for college. The best time to get a job is during the summer, when restaurants, theme parks, hotels and national parks all see a hiring boom in order to compensate for increased tourism. Also, during the summer, students don’t have to worry about conflicts between school and work schedule.

Remember this: every dollar you make is a step closer to achieving your college education. The ultimate goal of these efforts is achieving a college education, a prerequisite to living comfortably above the poverty line and having a fulfilling career. Let’s be honest: no one dreams about working a minimum-wage job until the day they die. Everyone wants to succeed in his or her own way, and achieving a college education is a way to do that. Regardless of the situation, money should never come between us and our dreams of attending college.