Archive for March, 2010

High Costs of College Tuition Requires The United States to Fund for Programs to Help Put College in Reach for All Americans

The high costs of college tuition are keeping many American students from attending a university.  The Government may need to fund for financial aid programs to help make college more affordable.

 

            Over the past 30 years, college tuition fees have risen tremendously.  With such high competition in the job market, a college degree is vital to getting a successful high paying job.  It seems that is has come to a point that it is almost impossible to be successful in the job market without a college degree.  For this reason, people are seeking college degrees more than ever.  But getting to college isn’t always easy.  Sometimes good grades and high-test scores are not enough to get a high school graduate to college.  This problem has spurred a large issue in the government today and especially during Barack Obama’s term in office.  Should the government raise taxes for the upper class to help fund for financial aid programs so that college can be more affordable for all Americans?  This debate is a large topic throughout The United States and the current office is working to hard to make it a reality.  The government should raise taxes for the upper class to help fund for financial aid programs so that college can be more affordable for all Americans.

            College, as most people know, has been around for a long time and has been becoming more and more important for success as the years go on.  The first institution of higher learning was Harvard, in 1636.  At that time college was less popular and less expensive, but the first financial aid for higher education came soon after 1636.  In 1643 Ann Radcliffe established the first scholarship ever given for higher education.  This scholarship was given at Harvard as well.  More recently, financial aid has become more popular due to increases in college tuition.  In 1972, the Federal Pell Grant Program was established.  Pell Grants do not need to be paid back.  Even more recently, in 2009, Barack Obama proposed the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which has recently become widely used.  The American Opportunity Tax Credit is a partially refundable tax credit that helps make college more affordable for most Americans. 

            But now, people begin to ask themselves if we should fund for programs like The American Opportunity Tax Credit, and Federal Pell Grants.  In order to fund for financial aid programs like The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Pell Grants we would have to increase taxes for the upper class.  Many people in lower class families would reap the benefit if we were to fund for these programs.  The debate comes in when we have to raise taxes to fund for these programs.  Many people are not willing to increase the already somewhat high taxes to help to fund for financial aid programs.  Most people in support of Barack Obama are willing to help fund, but much of The United States population is not willing. 

People like Adam Vinton, benefit from financial aid programs that we fund through increased taxation.  Adam Vinton uses Pell Grants and uses the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help pay for his education at The University of Oregon.  Cameron Smith, another student at The University of Oregon also uses The American Opportunity Tax Credit.  These students are directly affected by the funding of these financial aid programs.  After conversing with these students it further led me to believe that we should fund for financial aid programs like these. The University of Oregon Financial Aid and Scholarship Office deals with students at the University of Oregon who use financial aid or scholarships just like Adam and Cameron.  After speaking with Donna Schimmer, a financial aid counselor in that office, she feels that it is well worth it to fund for national financial aid programs.  She says the benefits would be much greater than the detriments.  With more educated students comes more quality and efficient businesses that will help spur the economy and trade worldwide.  Because of this, I feel that funding for financial aid programs is well worth it.

There are also citizens from other countries who wish to come to The United States to go to college.  These students from other countries can help our country with qualities such as being bilingual.  A Burmese student got a scholarship to help her come to the United States to go to college.  She hopes to work in Journalism or Political Science.  These financial aids allowed her to come to the United States and hopefully help our country in a future job.  This shows how this issue can affect not only The United States, but it can affect other countries around the globe.

            Barack Obama is working hard on making these programs significantly more productive.  As shown on Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s website, it shows what their plans are on helping to make college more affordable for all Americans.  This website also shows raw facts about college as well.  It shows how the costs of college tuition have risen dramatically and how most college graduates leave in debt.  His website shows his overall plan and his goals he is working on accomplishing. 

            The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities also speaks about this issue.  An article on this website talks about the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This act contains a measure to enlarge the “Hope Credit”.  This Hope Credit provides a tax subsidy for college tuition, but the problem was that many Americans didn’t meet the standards for that credit.  This new Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is working to make those in lower classes who don’t make the standards eligible for the program. 

            The counter argument against funding for financial aid programs is that many feel that even if we fund for the programs, that they will not work anyways.  As demonstrated in an article in The Heritage Foundation, there are studies that show that $173 billion in subsidies still might not solve the situation.  The Heritage Foundation says that, instead, we must lower costs and improve efficiency.  This opposing argument shows the debate in this issue. 

             Websites like EDU in Review and College Board, give helpful hints to college seekers on how to go about planning for college and how to stay in college.  These websites can direct students to places to go when they are looking for financial aid.  There are also other journalistic sources like CNN that inform the pubic about updates and progresses made in financial aid programs.  Websites like these are crucial because they inform students about important things that can take help take away from the stresses of high costs of college tuition. 

            It is tough to show evidence of this issue being resolved already because Barack Obama has been in office for such a short period of time.  President Obama is currently putting in a large effort for change in this issue, but not even a full school year has passed since he has been in office.  I feel that this topic will progress with time while he is in office.  It is yet to show much sign of success but the way he is going about fixing this problem of high costs of college tuition seems to be achievable and likely.

10 Links

1.  Adam Vinton – Junior at The University of Oregon

Contact information:

E-mail: avinton@uoregon.edu

Phone: (971) 221-5540

            Contacted on: January 17th, 2010 at 7 PM

Adam Vinton is a source that relates to my topic of college affordability.  He is a citizen source who is directly affected by the high costs of college tuition.  He is a junior at the University of Oregon.  Adam Vinton is a first generation college student in his family.  He never expected to attend a university when he was in high school because of money issues.  As a high school graduate in Portland, Adam Vinton found a way to go to college.  Adam Vinton uses loans, scholarships, and Pell Grants to pay for his college tuition.  He wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend college without these financial aids.  Adam’s loans are paid by his bank and he will be trying to pay them off after college graduation.  His Pell Grants are federally funded and he will not have to pay them off in the future.  This relates to my topic through his loans, Pell Grants, and the Oregon Opportunity Grant.  These financial aids are examples of how the government is investing more money to help make college affordable for people like Adam Vinton.  These are all financial aid programs that are being worked on and modified in the Government right now.  Barack Obama is working on programs just like this during his term in office.

 2.  Cameron Smith – Sophomore at the University of Oregon

Contact information:

E-mail: camerons@uoregon.edu

Phone: (971) 409-9773

Contacted on: February 10th, 2010 at 4 PM

Cameron Smith is a citizen source that attends the University of Oregon.  Cameron is a college student who uses student loans and Pell Grants to pay for his college tuition.  Cameron Smith attended high school in Portland, Oregon and knew that college was going to be a struggle to pay for.  After watching his sister drop out of college due to college payment problems, Cameron is trying to take a different path by getting help through financial aid.  Cameron uses loans that are paid for by his bank, and he also uses Pell Grants that are federally funded.  Cameron is a good source for my topic because he is a prime example of someone who struggles to pay for high costs of college tuition.  His Pell Grants are exactly what the government is funding for to help make college more affordable for all Americans.  He wants to find a successful job following college graduation and he knows how important a college degree is when doing so.  It was helpful to talk to an actual student who is directly affected by high costs of college tuition.  It is one thing to hear stories about college affordability, but getting direct input from those who use financial aid puts a new perspective on opinions.

 3.  University of Oregon Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Office – Donna Schimmer (Financial Aid Counselor)

Contact information:

Phone: (541) 346-1188

Contacted on: February 8th, 2010 at 1 PM

The University of Oregon Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Office is an institutional source.  This source is non-profit.  This office deals with all of the financial aid aspects of the University of Oregon.  This source gives us a look at our local outlook on the college affordability topic.  They work with students who use scholarships, loans, and other types of financial aid.  Within this office, there are counselors and accountants who work with these financial aids.  I talked with Donna Schimmer, a financial aid counselor.  She deals with all people who use any sort of financial aid.  She gives them help on how to deal with their financial aid at the current moment and how to better prepare for the long term.  She says that the most trouble she runs into is paying off loans after graduation.  She has seen many success stories and many struggled attempts as well.  It is nice to talk to not just students who are affected by high costs of college tuition, but it helps to talk with people on the other side.  It helps to talk with people who professionally deal with this topic.  This source deals tightly with my topic because it is exactly what Barack Obama and his office are working to improve.  They deal with loans, Pell Grants, and scholarships that help low income students pay for college. 

 4.  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Accessed On: February 21st, 2010

“Economic Recovery Package Would Give 3.8 Million Low- and Moderate-Income Students — Thousands in Every State —Access to Higher-Education Tax Credit”.  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  February 26th, 2009.  820 First St, NE, Suite 510.  Arloc Sherman and Chye-Ching Huang

In this post by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, they talk about the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  This act contains a measure to enlarge the “Hope Credit”.  The Hope Credit provides a tax subsidy for college tuition costs.  Its goal was to enable students who could not otherwise afford college, to be able to do so.  The downside of this Hope Credit is that more than one-fifth of high school age children couldn’t make the standards for the Hope Credit because their family income was too low.  The newly passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is working to allow for lower income families to be eligible as well.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is an institutional source that keeps up with the updates on college affordability plans.  This institution is the first to know of any changes in policy on budget.  This includes budgeting for college affordability.  This source relays the changes in policy to the public.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is intended for the American public, and those who are interested in knowing changes in national policy.  This post also talks about how the old non-refundable Hope Credit is now refundable so that low-income households can qualify.  This institution keeps us updated on how the government is funding for college affordability acts.

 5.  Barack Obama and Joe Biden

Accessed On: February 21st, 2010

“Barack Obama and Joe Biden: Making College Affordable for Everyone”.  www.BarackObama.com.  White House.

This is informational research source on Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s website.  This source is an informational research source because is gives all of the basic information on how President Obama plans to make college more affordable for all Americans.  People look to this site as a reference to see Obama’s plan.  This link on their webpage is all about their plan on putting college in reach for everyone in America.  It gives the general overview of what their plans are.  The major topics in this source are about the American Opportunity Tax Credit, simplifying application processes for financial aid, helping students become aware of college readiness, expanding Pell Grants for low-income families, community college partnership programs, and eliminating costly bank subsidies.  This source is intended for all of Barack Obama supporters and anyone who wants to know their plans in office.  This source is helpful in making an argument about my topic because it also gives hard facts of the realities of college costs.  For example it talks about how college costs have grown nearly forty percent in the last 5 years, and how sixty percent of all college students leave college in debt.  This source also tells us exactly what the government plans on doing to make college more affordable.

 6.  Burmese Student Who Receives Scholarship to Attend College in the United States

Accessed on: February 21st, 2010

“Burmese Student Receives Scholarship to Attend Green Mountain College”.  www.voanews.com.  October 13th, 2009. 

This is a journalistic source about a true success story.  This is an article about how a Burmese student receives a scholarship to attend college in the United States.  Within this journalistic source, there is an article about an actual student who attends college here in the United States.  She says the education system is better in the United States than where she is from.  She also wants to study journalism and political science.  She says they do not have those majors back home.  The scholarship enabled her to attend college, and without she would not have had this opportunity.  This source is intended for those who are interested in success stories regarding financial aid and higher education.  This relates to my topic because this is the exact type of act that the United States government is trying to do fund for.  This scholarship has given a low-income student the ability to attend college.  This source argues the fact that a broad spectrum of students can meet the standards for financial aid.  It shows a diversity of students seeking a college degree.  This journalistic source shows that not only do Americans have trouble paying for college, but this topic of high costs of college is a worldwide problem.

 7.  Budgeting for Subsidies Might not Solve College Affordability Problem

Accessed on: February 21st, 2010

“Budget 2011: $173 Billion in Subsidies Won’t Solve College Affordability Problem”.  The Heritage Foundation.  February 2nd, 2010.  Dan Lips.

This is a journalistic source on The Heritage Foundation website.  It is a leadership website that contains a variety of articles.  This article gives the opposing side of my topic on college affordability.  This article makes the point that budgeting $173 billion in subsidies might not solve the college affordability problem.  It is said that rather than increasing subsidies, it might be America’s only option to lower costs and work to improve efficiency.  In this article, it is stated that ever since the government has increased federal subsidies for higher education, the costs of college tuition have actually increased by 439 percent!  This is an important article because it shows the two sides of this topic.  It shows that not all people agree with budgeting to make college more affordable for Americans.  This article helps to demonstrate that there are actually two sides of this argument on budgeting for making higher education more affordable.  It gives the harsh reality that even if we budget, it still may not work out for the best.  The audience for this source is for anyone who wants to hear both sides of the topic.  This is a public source open for all interested in gaining knowledge about college affordability. 

 8.  EDU In Review

Accessed on: February 21st, 2010

“Stimulus Passes With Billions for Education”.  EDU in Review.  February 10th, 2009.  Brandi. 

EDU In Review is an online institutional source that gives information on college.  It has information on everything from student loans to Fraternity and Sorority life.  This website gives advice on how to go about getting ready for college and it offers help with finding financial aid.  On this website there are articles as well. This website is an all around reference for anyone interested in going to college, or for those already in college.  On this website I found an article about student protesters.  These protesters go across the US protesting against the budget cuts that increase the costs of college tuition.  These students go to states like Arizona, California, and Nevada protesting.  This is a good source for my topic because it is a possible group I can contact and get quality stories about their protests on college tuition.  These groups are helpful for making my argument about college affordability because they are directly affected by the high costs and they are actually taking initiative to act upon it.  The overall intention of this website is to not only inform students about important information about college but to give inspiration and show that college can be within reach with help through financial aid.

 9.  CollegeBoard

Accessed on: February 22nd, 2010

“Working to Make Financial Aid More Accessible”.  CollegeBoard. 

The CollegeBoard is an online institutional source.  This source is most well known for the SAT tests high school students take, but when you look deeper into this source there is a lot of helpful information for college.  This source gives a lot of information about college and also has information on college affordability.  It is aimed towards high school aged students who wish to attend college.  A lot of these students are in need of financial aid and CollegeBoard is there to help.  It gives advice on preparation for college and if you need financial aid it can help lead you to where you need to go to get it.  This source also gives trends on college prices and financial aid over long lengths of time.  CollegeBoard’s main intent is to help students not only with their SAT testing, but to inform students of many other important things they should be aware of.  This source relates to my topic because it deals with the core group of people of who is affected the most by high costs of college.  Within this source there are other sources, like links to actual Universities.

10.  CNN.com

Accessed on: February 22nd, 2010

“Rising Costs Could Push College Out of Reach”.  CNN.  December 3rd, 2008. 

CNN is a journalistic source.  Within this source I found an article on how the rising costs of college tuition are pushing college out of reach for many Americans.  This article talks about how the tuition costs for college are increasing every year nationally and how the government is trying to balance it out.  The American Opportunity Tax Credit is brought up in this article as well.  It speaks about how college tuition has increased 439 percent.  This has knocked many high school students’ college hopes out of the water.  Within this source there are other sources as well.  Tony D’Addeo, a straight A student in high school doesn’t even know if he will be able to attend college due to high costs.  This helps to show the reality that even good grades still does not guarantee a spot in college.  CNN is a good source because it gives many articles on real time stories that happen regarding my topic of college affordability.  CNN is all about journalism and keeps up to date with stories and breaking news.  This source is intended for all news seekers in the general public.  This article argues that we need to do something about the college affordability topic.  It helps to spur the public to support Obama’s new program and plan for making college more affordable for all Americans.

College Tuition and Fees are Increasing

In an annual report on trends in college pricing, it was concluded that college fees and tuition are trending upwards.  Bad news for college students and college seekers, it was found that at 4-year public institutions, costs increased by 5.9 percent the past year.

http://blog.heritage.org/2009/10/21/the-college-affordability-problem—runaway-college-costs/