“Who came first, the chicken or the egg?” is an age-old question that no one seems to know the answer to, one which is debated among many, with no definite answer. Similarly, students run into a complicated question at one point in their academic career, which is arguably more never-ending than the case of the chicken and egg. Do they not go to college and potentially risk their career, or do they go to college and risk selling away the rest of their lives?
Time after time, the American education system proves its incompetence and lack of sympathy toward its own students. Colleges in America, which once were the epitome of an ideal higher education, are now seen as traps leading a student’s life spiraling into the depths of a debt-filled life. In the last thirty years, tuition has more than doubled, even with adjusting for inflation.
Students, in hopes of simply learning to pursue their desired careers, fall into the student loan trap, a predatory system sucking them into a future cluttered with disadvantages. In the event a borrower is faced with an inability to pay, the setbacks they will face are endless. Such disadvantages can carry into the rest of their life, some of which being ruined credit scores or the inability to buy houses, buy cars, attain credit cards, or even pursue further education. College students may feel trapped as having a degree is becoming necessary to land a job, while simultaneously becoming exponentially more expensive. Student loan companies are often criticized due to the ill-treatment and poor service they provide the college students, making their lives significantly harder. Such companies are widely despised by the student population yet are still regularly used for they are their only option.
Although one may link the struggle of paying these bills back to the low-paying profession students chose to pursue, even people in traditionally high-paying fields, such as medicine, tech, and law, bare the brunt of the loans despite their massive salaries. Tuition increases, in addition to loans, are notorious for outweighing incomes, leaving students no choice but to financially suffer through their post-college life. While efforts such as Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness have been taken, many view it as unfair due to the forgiveness only being applied to those who make less than $125,000 a year, whereas debt has taken a hit for every student, regardless of pay. The debt students fall into has encouraged many to take up these higher-paying careers creating a national teacher shortage, among many other vital yet low-paying jobs.
Before considering America the “best country in the world,” one should take a step back to ponder how higher education institutions tarnish the lives of their students, making the future of the country equally bright and poor. While going to college is an honor and accomplishment to many, returning from it with a never-ending pile of bills to pay, should not be. One should be able to access quality education without ruining their financial future for it.