The high price of a college education

Amari D. Pollard ‘17, Staff Writer

Financial aid, a major concern to many students all over the country, has weighed heavily on my mind even before I entered college this fall. Growing up, my mother always told me that getting an education is one of the most important parts of life because no one can take your education away from you. Even though that may prove to be true, I don’t think my mother ever considered what an education might take away from me.

The cost of a college education is steadily rising to the point where many are debating whether college is worth the expense when the job market is so poor.

According to CNN Money, “The average student loan debts is near $27,000,” an amount of money foreboding to any student thinking of post-college life in a depressed job market.

The costs are even higher when you enroll in a private university rather than a public one. The difference in the overall cost between the two amounts is an overwhelming average of $21,000 dollars per year, according to U.S. News and World Report.  For all of us here at Le Moyne College, we know the effects a private education can have on our pockets and those of our parents’. However, that burden is counteracted by the significant financial aid Le Moyne offers to its students.

For the longest time, in my mind at least, it seemed like the only way to afford a decent college education was to be at the extremes: extremely wealthy, extremely poor, extremely hardworking and intelligent, or some combination of the three. That way, you either have enough money to not be concerned about paying for college or have qualities that would allow you to receive a good amount of financial aid.

So, unfortunately, like everything else in life, the middleman – in this case, the decently hardworking and intelligent middle class student – is left with unfavorable options. Given that I am this type of student, I was always concerned about how I was going to graduate with minimal debt. Lucky for me, Le Moyne ensured that my finances wouldn’t limit my opportunities.

The way Le Moyne was able to help me is reflective of the financial aid offered to all my fellow freshmen students. One of the great features of this college is that it gives generous rewards to students for their intellectual abilities. Coming in as a freshman, students are offered five different academic scholarships: Presidential, Dean, Leader, Ignation and Loyola, that that offer up to $23,750 a year.

These scholarships are awarded to students of many different degrees of academic merit, so that a significant majority of the student population receives at least a good portion of aid. And for those who don’t qualify for these scholarships, or even for those that do, there are also athletic scholarships, private scholarships, grants, program and major-based scholarships and various loan programs available.

Nevertheless, the truth is that a Le Moyne education is unreasonably expensive, and, on the whole, any college education is unreasonably expensive. Regardless of how good Le Moyne’s financial aid options are, students will graduate owing thousands of dollars. After graduation, students will have only a few months to find a job in order to make their loan repayments. The question that scares me the most is, “What happens to those that don’t find a job after graduation and can’t afford to make those payments, let alone afford to live on their own?”

Even with a good job, my mom was 42 when she paid back all her loans, and she went to college back when it was more affordable. It seems that as the price of a college education increases, so does the fear of what will happen after graduation. Even though Le Moyne is doing a tremendous job at providing aid, the situation at Le Moyne is the same at every college: their aid isn’t always enough.