Spectator Staff Editorial: Unfairly unaffordable

We live in a society that emphasizes the importance of education. We pride ourselves in knowing our classrooms are a venue in which all students may succeed.

But this egalitarianism is being increasingly threatened by the rising unaffordability of American colleges and universities. With rising tuition costs and financial aid that can hardly keep up with inflation, college is becoming more than just a financial burden for many families. It’s becoming an impossibility.

The issue
Colleges and universities declared overwhelmingly unaffordable.

A recent study by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education declared the affordability of post-secondary education an overwhelming failure. The study, which ranked each state on an A to F scale, gave only three states a grade higher than a D – California, Minnesota and Utah.

The rankings were determined by comparing the average cost of college with the average family income. The results were nauseating. In New Jersey, college costs total on average 34 percent of a family’s annual income. This means a hard-working family with two college-aged children is expected to maintain an acceptable standard of living on only 32 percent of their income or go without providing their children with a college education. Where is the American dream for these people?

Worse still, Bush and his administration only are making things worse. According to the Student Aid Alliance, their budget plan eliminates two financial aid programs – Perkins Loan and Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership – pivotal in sending millions of students to college.

The Perkins Loan has given more than $15 billion in low-interest loans to more than 10 million students, while L.E.A.P. allows every federal dollar of financial aid to be matched with a state dollar.

If this trend continues, a disastrous division in American society will take place, and our middle class will be destroyed.

Sadly, it’s happening already. We need to make the affordability of a college education a priority in this country before it’s too late, because there’s nothing more un-American than a qualified young American left behind because of financial status