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Last updateWed, 22 Mar 2017 3pm

Opinion

American Dream Myth: Tuition Costs Suppress Overall Success

This is not an article that is going to slam Monmouth or any other college or university for having high tuition costs. This is not an article that is going to complain about where my tuition money goes or what I believe it is spent on. This is, instead, an article expressing my beliefs on the fact that something needs to be done about the rising tuition costs in America.

By now, everyone in the world knows that Germany is offering all German citizens, and people from anywhere else in the world, a free college education. It is a revolutionary idea and to most people in America, even myself, it seems unfathomable.

Of course, there are many differences in German universities and American universities. All those extra amenities like gyms, sports teams, career services, advisors, etc. offered at American schools are not offered at German universities. The classes, even the higher-level classes, are all lecture style and offer a midterm and final and are mostly pass fail.

Both experiences are very different but the main point is ANYONE in Germany can go to college. Rich or poor, you can afford to better educate yourself. In America, we know there is a problem with income inequality. People who sit on and below the poverty line have almost no way of moving up because today, most decent paying careers require a degree.

I feel so blessed to know that I am able to afford a higher education, but at the same time know how unfair it is to so many people in America who simply cannot afford it. The American dream seems to be dying. It is so unrealistic to simply work hard and move up in America. I think the government should look at Germany as an example and use it as a way to help Americans.

This year, 20 percent of the government's budget was spent on welfare. If part of this budget was used to set up free universities like those in Germany instead of people relying on welfare for the rest of their lives, they could instead obtain an education and work at starting a career.

Or maybe universities should look at the German model of higher education and offer deals. Why should someone who goes to school pay for all the extra amenities if the only parts of campus they use are the classrooms?

If colleges allowed students to pick different plans this too might help to make college more affordable for all. Someone may want to pay extra so they can use gym and sport facilities where someone else may prefer to pay extra for Woods Theater programs and career services.

Obviously there are people who cannot afford college altogether, but then there are also those who take out an exorbitant amount of loans so they can afford it. Looking more at the typical college student from a middle class family, can they even afford to go to college?

As of right now, I already have three years worth of student loans waiting to be paid right after I graduate. These loans could take me years to pay off and prohibit me from moving out of my parent's house. As of right now, according to CNN, some 40 million Americans are paying back $1.2 trillion in student debt.

Yet, there are ways to make college more attainable for everyone. Germany was able to find a way to do it and America needs to follow suit.

The first step in fixing income inequality is not to give more hand outs but offer more ways for people to better themselves that way their children will do the same and it creates a domino effect.

I love the education and the experience Monmouth University has afforded me, as I'm sure students all across the country feel about their school too. Yet somehow as the clock ticks on having to pay my loans back and as I watch less people be able to move out of the poverty line, I am more and more aware there is a problem. Educating oneself should not be a matter of whether you are born into an affluent family or not, that just goes completely against the American dream. Rather, it should be a universal opportunity for all.

One of the main reasons Germany did decide to eliminate education costs is the unhappiness they saw in their young German students through their protests against tuition costs.

Perhaps it is time that students rally against high tuition costs as a whole. If we just keep paying all this money and drowning ourselves in debt, then there will be no change.

Maybe it is time we all spoke a little louder of how unjust this system is. Germany has opened doors and showed us the ideal of free higher education is possible.

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