Is Education Affordable?

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Creating a Simple and Well-Defined Road to the Middle-Class Community

Creating a simple and well-defined road to the middle-class community and maintaining the welfare of the American nation entails expanding opportunities for more Americans to access higher education. Currently, roughly three-quarters of the emerging and fastest-growing professions need specialists with advanced education and preparation. However, almost half of students who begin college have no financial means of completing it within six years (Thelin 585). The numbers are really threading, as tuition continues to rise, leaving education unaffordable for many middle-class families. One generation ago, America led the world in college accomplishment of young adults; however, now, Americans take the 13th position among the countries, where higher education is affordable (Thelin 585). Unfortunately, it is necessary to accept that higher education is unaffordable for most students, because of the enormously high tuition fees, which prevent many talented students from attending colleges.

Background of Problem

There is a tendency that due to high tuition fees, education had become affordable mostly for students from wealthy families. As a result, American education system suffers from a college achievement gap, as high school graduates from the wealthy families in are almost certain to continue obtaining higher education. At the same time, only half of high school graduates, belonging to the poor quarter of families, have the financial opportunity attend college. Similarly, while half of college students graduate from wealthy families graduate from college within six years, only 25 percent of low-income students complete college (The White House para 3). This statistics proves that education is still unaffordable for the students in most cases. However, the Administration of the ex-president Obama has worked hard to make education more accessible. They have elaborated a range of granted and education loan programs, which allow the students getting education in college and pay the loan back in the process of education, in case the student performs well in his or her college. It, thus, motivates students to achieve good results and apply for grants to continue their education and choose a college they want to attend (Heller 394).

Although Many Americans Believe Education is Difficult to Afford

Although, many Americans are sure that education is difficult to afford for simple students, there is an opinion that education is affordable for everyone, as government contributes greatly to the accessibility of education for all students. This argument is proven by several important facts, demonstrating that college education still can be affordable. It is well-known fact that cost of college has become a shared responsibility among states, the federal government, higher educational establishments, as well as students and their families. Federal government has realized the problem of excessive expensiveness of higher education and started making steps to solve the issue. Thus, since 2009, the Obama Administration and Congress have been doing a collaborative work to make education more affordable for all students; therefore, historic investments in higher education had been made. The Government increased the maximum Pell Grant award by $900 (US Department of education para 4) and elaborated the American Opportunity Tax Credit (US Department of education para 4), allowing students to borrow money to pay tuition. This type of credit, as administration thought, would have become some kind of a life saver for potential college graduates. At the moment, the government is working on new type of additional loan repayment programs, aimed at assisting students to manage their debts. In this way, the government tries to show that education must be affordable. In addition, to eliminate the low college attainment level for the students of low and middle income families, the government has enacted landmark a range of federal student aid reforms, which helped get rid of bank subsidies and increased the number of college students from low and middle income families (US Department of education, 2013).

Challenges and Goals for Making Education More Affordable

In addition to the facts about the ways of making education more affordable, President Obama challenged each American to get at least one year of higher education (US Department of education, 2013). Moreover, to make education more affordable and guarantee more students to get it, the ex- President had a set a new goal for America, aimed at making the country the leader of higher education graduates by 2020 (US Department of education para 5). By this date, America would again have the highest number of college graduates. It means that the government plans to make higher education affordable and creates all the necessary conditions. In order to achieve this goal and guarantee college completion for each student of low and middle income families, the ex-President Obama together with his Administration have been working and elaborating reforms for providing grants and educational programs to make college education more accessible and attainable for each American family despite the level of income.

The Necessity of Higher Education in the Modern World Economy

In the conditions of modern world economy, higher education is a necessity for individual economic opportunity and competitiveness of the country in the global economy. At a time when jobs can go anywhere in the world, education determines success for people and for nations (Conner & Rabovsky 94). Consequently, a college education has always been the best investment a student can make in his future. However, tuition prices in most state and private colleges are too high to be affordable for all students, thus making it more difficult for American students to invest in a higher education for the prosperity of their future (The white House para 4). Modern college students have more debts, because of loans for education than ever before. For example, between 1992 and 2012, the total amount of student loan borrowers, graduated with a bachelor's degree, increased in two times and now comprises approximately $27,000 (US Department of education para 6). Even after investments of the Obama Administration, the Pell Grant is able to cover only about 30 percent of the cost of a four-year college education (US Department of education para 6). This index is the lowest in history; however, it is necessary to admit that, considering the level of inflation, the figure is soothing. The saddest fact is that Congressional Republicans have offered to cut the purchasing power of Pell Grants (US Department of education para 6). Thus, they make Americans take more loans for education.


American education is really difficult to afford for many students from low and middle income families, therefore, it makes take huge loans to get the opportunity to graduate from college and obtain specialization. Unfortunately, education fees are too high for the students to get college achievements. On the other hand, the Federal Government is trying to give the students the chance to enter colleges by providing them with the Grants and Opportunity Tax Credit, giving the chance to afford education and motivating for hard work.

Works Cited

Conner, Tate. & Rabovsky, Tim. “Accountability, affordability, access: A review of the recent trends in higher education policy research”. Policy Studies Journal, 39 (2011), 93-112

Heller, Dave. “The states and public higher education policy: Affordability, access, and accountability”. Journal of Social Work Education, 37, 2 (2001), 394. 

Thelin, John. “Why Did College Cost So Little? Affordability and Higher Education a Century Ago”. Society, 52, 6 (2015), 585-589

The white House. Higher education. Web. 2016. Accessed January 21 at <>

US Department of Education. College Affordability and Completion: Ensuring a Pathway to Opportunity. Accessed January 21 at <>

January 25, 2023

Sociology Science

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