College, The Debt Trap of the 21 Century

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As many Senior get there decisions letters back the next question on everyone’s mind is how much will this cost. Depending on where you are going it could range from a couple thousands or to the tens of thousands of dollars. With this in mind many are opting to go to PPCC or a college in state before transferring to the college of choice. However, for some of our parents, college was a viable option as long as you got a part time job and a hand full of small scholarships. Now it seems that the only way many of us can go to college is to be in debt, full ride, or apply to so many scholarships that it covers it. One of the biggest issues with how college seems so out of reach without taking on debt is that wages have not kept up with cost of living and college tuition itself has skyrocket. Many families now are in debt because their wages can not keep up with basic living in America and then when adding on the soaring price of College it seems like a sure trap. So what are the stats on this on how is it affecting Coloradans?


Cost of living, what does that mean? Well, according to Investopedia Cost of Living is, “The amount of money needed to sustain a certain standard of living by affording basic expenses such as housing, food, taxes, and health care.” The author, Caroline Baton, continues saying it is tied to wages. So more expensive places need higher wages to match the Cost of living. The issue with that is has cost of living keeps rising wages stay stagnant. Minimum wage currently in Colorado is 11.20 an hour. For a high school student working part time as a way to stop asking their parents for money this is fine. Though, for a full time worker trying to pay for the basic necessities this is horrible. Colorado Springs is the fastest growing city in America with cost of living going up 35% from 2017 to 2018. These have potentially devastating impacts on the lower case currently living there as well as the labor force. This is Morley discussed in “These 20 Cities’ Cost Of Living Rose The Fastest In 2018”, an article written by Andrew DePietro. It explains in depth why this is an issue and mentions few solutions for this issue. Though Cost of Living is a huge Issue to America as a whole how does it affect College America?


With basic income not being able to keep up even with cost of living what does that compare to college. Looking at, “Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates, 1971-2016”, from The median salary of a women in 2016 was about 25,000 dollars which was a 73% increase since 1971. The issue is back in 1971 college tuition only accounted for a 58% of a women’s salary while now it is 80%, for a public institution. This is honestly ridiculously sad. As America pushed students more and more to attended college in the last few decades they also decided to raise the rates of college leaving people drowning in an education that can not pay for itself. For Colorado Families, we are lucky to have many instate public colleges to attend and well connected scholarships to help our students get there. Though we have one of the fastest growing cities in state it’s worth looking into other options before college.