Administration needs to take additional steps to lower the cost of college.
Opinion by Kevin Khachatryan, Staff Writer
While the Biden administration takes steps to alleviate $20,000 in student debt for nearly 38 million borrowers, students are still left scrambling because the cost of four-year universities continue to skyrocket above what students can afford.
The new policies include a substantial amount of student loan forgiveness, offering a glimmer of hope for individuals struggling to pay off their educational loans. However, the growing costs of college tuition is still a concern, particularly for students attending four-year universities.
“I got accepted to UCLA after high school, but I decided not to go because it was too expensive,” said second year kinesiology major Michael Chavez. “I decided to go to Valley because I was going to pay $53,000 for four-years if I committed to UCLA.”
Data provided by the Biden administration shows that since 1980, the average cost of both four-year public and private colleges has nearly tripled. While Pell Grants can cover nearly 80 percent of the cost of a four-year degree, many low and middle-income students have no choice but to borrow if they want to get a higher degree.
More than $20,000 in debt will be forgiven for 38 million students who will be attending a four-year university. But, suppose students who attend Valley College, where the annual tuition amounts to approximately $1,238 for in-state residents, over the course of two-years students should receive about $5,000 to $6,000 in FAFSA aid. According to financial aid statistics, over the last decade, the average grant aid for full-time undergraduate students has doubled, increasing from $5,190 in 2001 to $10,590 in 2021.
“It all depends on what major students pursue,” said Wesley Oliphant, Valley economics professor. “If students want to become a doctor or lawyer, it’s the best option to get a masters. But any other major is not a priority to get a masters degree.”
Assuming no financial aid, scholarships, or grants, the total cost of tuition for four years would be $80,000. If the student takes out $10,000 in FAFSA each year at an interest rate of 3.73 percent, the accumulated loan after four years would be approximately $41,307.
These numbers strike fear to many students who are hesitant to attend top California universities because even with FAFSA and student loans, the pay is still well above the cost of admission.
One must also consider the cost of living, textbooks, tuition and gas. The skyrocketing rise of the four-year universities such as UCLA which can cost $43,955 and USC — the most expensive school in California at $60,446 for full-time local students.
The overall cost of attending college for four years amounts to $121,307. The numbers demonstrate the importance of understanding the burden associated with pursuing a college education.
While the recent student loan forgiveness policies initiated by the Biden administration are beneficial to many individuals, it does not address the root of the problem: college is too expensive.