Large payments put students at disadvantage

Ever since I was little, my parents have always preached about the need for self-reliability. So, whenever there was something big I was interested in buying, they would suggest I save up my own money. They said that way, it would mean more to me when I actually bought it.

Well, that “something big” I want now is a complete college education. But I’m sorry guys, I don’t think all my savings in the world combined would even touch a fraction of the $18,980 I will owe UW-Eau Claire after this school year alone. The funny thing is, I’m not even the worst off.

Eau Claire is actually rather affordable when compared to schools like UW-Madison or the University of Minnesota. These schools charge upwards of $24,000 to $26,000 a year, according to their websites. Tack on the
extra money students owe the bank for holding and handling their money for over the past four or five years, the costs definitely begin to add up.

The striking thing is, these statistics are just for in-state students alone. If someone from the South wanted to become a Blugold, they would have to pay almost double that of someone from Wisconsin or Minnesota. I understand paying for an education, but how smart is it to put recently-graduated students  in that big of a hole before they even join the workforce?

As a journalism major, I’m already at steep disadvantage as well. I’m going to be making maybe $20,000 to $40,000 a year starting out. I could possibly make only $1,000 more than what it costs for one year of school in a given year working full-time. Plus, with the serious payment plans banks demand nowadays, I’m going to have very little money around for personal profit for the foreseeable future.

Who wants to live that life? I know I want to be able to live comfortably after college. Thinking about what realistically is going to happen is stressful. But without a degree, there’s a possibility I’ll be passed up by employers through society’s standards. They will be looking for the people coming out of college.

So I’m in trouble whether I go to college or not. If someone is interested in attending a university to better themselves, they should be able to. Everyone has a right to knowledge. But when you put a price tag on it, the process becomes that much larger. Therein lies the problem.

Obviously students should pay for college. That’s a given. These teachers and faculty work their hardest and deserve compensation. The university needs money to make buildings and maintain life on campus, this is all very understandable. But when people literally can’t attend because of the price, how is that price tag justified?

There has to be some way to lower the price while giving everyone what they deserve. I know Eau Claire does a really good job with pulling in donations from alumni and other places. My hope is that some of that money is going towards helping us with tuition. If not, I think some should start to pool in that direction.

I would say we need to find a way for students to be readily able to handle the financial situations that arise while in school and after. I love Eau Claire, I love the people here, but there are times where I stress about how I’m going to afford staying here. I don’t know if it will ever come to that, but I know it’s a growing issue for students.