Life Sentence of College Debt in America


Ella Mott, Staff Writer

Seniors! You all have a dream college, right? Somewhere you would drop every other option you have to attend and be perfectly happy there. Well, imagine with all of your hard work in high school (the blood, sweat and tears put in) you get into that dream school, and can’t go. 

Not because of your grades, or that you weren’t involved enough with clubs and sports, not even because you weren’t a perfect student.

It’s because, like most people, you can’t afford hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of college debt strapped to you for the better part of your life. 

Unfortunately, this is a reality for most students in America. College tuition is outrageously expensive and prohibits where students can attend to get that higher education you pretty much need for most jobs these days. 

44.7 million Americans are suffering from student loan debt reaching about 1.6 trillion dollars in total, rising every year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Additionally, seeing as this statistic is from four years ago, that number is undoubtedly even higher now. 

But as a soon-to-be college student, what I begin to question is, why would the US want college tuition to be this high? Higher college tuition equals not as many people having the money to go which leads to a less-educated America. 

If college tuition were lower, not only would people be able to attend the school of their choosing (not just their financial ability), but more people would have the opportunity to attend college in America as a whole. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, what about scholarships? Yes, there are scholarships awarded to certain students to help with the costs of attending, but are they enough? 

As of 2020, only 58% of families use scholarships that are provided to them, and only 1.5% of students received full scholarships to attend college. Also, only one in eight students are likely to even receive a scholarship.

While you may be thinking that 58% is actually a pretty high percentage, let’s take a look at how much these scholarships are actually worth. 

According to, the average scholarship amount per student is only around $7,923 when college tuition is in the tens or even, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. But don’t worry there’s more; only 0.2% of students receive scholarships upwards of $25,000. 

Around the world, there are many countries that don’t even charge tuition for students to attend college. In places like France, Germany and Sweden there is little to no tuition charged. 

So why does tuition in America have to be a life sentence of debt, when other countries are doing just fine without charging outrageous fees?

If you take a look at you will find that America is not the most educated country in the world, in fact, it’s not even close. The United States falls around sixth place, give or take, in most educated countries falling only around 50% of the population being educated as of 2022.

Therefore, the unimaginable costs of higher education in America prohibit students from either getting a college education at all or being able to choose where they want to spend the next four-plus years of their life.