College Debt and Broken Dreams

By Randee May, Staff Writer

As young adults we all have dreams of doing something great in our lives, whether it’s to become a doctor, psychologist, engineer, or a school teacher. We make the grades, apply for college, and hope for our acceptance letters in the mail. While receiving an acceptance letter may be music to our ears, the reminder of paying for tuition can easily become the bane of our existence.

And so the quest begins: how are you going to afford college?

Maybe you can write endless essays for scholarships or borrow money from the government, and possibly work two part time jobs while being a full time student. It’s thoughts like these that make you wonder: why can’t tuition just be free like in Germany? Wouldn’t it be relieving to know you could attend college without having to figure out if you’ll be able to pay for each and every year?

German student, Kim Galleinus, who studies German and Latin at the University of Constance in Germany, spoke on what it was like to attend school tuition free.

“Free tuition gives equal chances so students from poorer families have the same chances for high education as richer students,” Galleinus spoke.

Imagine being poor, but having the test scores to attend Harvard or Duke without being worried sick over tuition cost. While Galleinus does not have to pay for tuition, she explained that there are certain expenses that must be paid.

“I pay 150€ each term to the university. 80€ to ‘seezeit’, that’s the student union.10€ to a political organization, like some parliament, and 60€ for administration.”

If you convert that to US dollars, Galleinus pays $187 and some change for her education, compared to the thousands Americans pay for theirs.

So why doesn’t America offer free tuition?

According to Roger Aliaga-Diaz, a Principal and Senior Economist at Vanguard Investment Strategy Group, student debt isn’t putting the country in a financial crisis. Aliaga-Diaz also went on to compare mortgage debt with student debt. He stated the two are similar, but not the same.

“A student can’t file for bankruptcy to have their loans forgiven like a mortgage borrower can. It’s very difficult to do.”

Apparently having a degree is better than no degree, even if it means you’ll spend the next thirty years of your life paying it off.

Or so that’s what Aliaga-Diaz believes.

Jeff Bryant started a petition on contains vital information that crunches numbers. To start, student loan debt exceeds that of credit card debt by the trillions. And in 2012, 70% of college students graduated with debt.

Recent accounting taken by the U.S. Department of Education reads, “the cost of making college free is $62.6 billion. That’s less than one-10th of this year’s $631 billion defense budget.”

With that being said, college tuition has been rising over the past decade. The American dream is to go to college, get an awesome job, house, car, and start a family, but it seems that the foundations of that dream is crushing our very future.