Going to college is elitist

The saying goes “there are two things guaranteed in life; death and taxes.” But now, student debt should be added to the list.

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The saying goes “there are two things guaranteed in life; death and taxes.” But now, student debt should be added to the list.

Iliana Moreno, Co-Editor-in-Chief

After the pandemic rocked the world of college admissions, it’s time to figure out why getting a higher education is becoming something only the rich can afford.

Following the college admissions scandals at schools like USC and Yale, people have witnessed first-hand how hard it has become to go to a top tier school if one doesn’t have the financial means.

As a senior who is preparing to enter my freshman year of college, a lot of thought went into where I would go and why.

Nothing beats the price of attending an in-state college, the tuition is “affordable”- but why are students still ending up in crippling debt?

According to Business Insider, after student loan debt reached $1.9 trillion, the average millennial college student has about $30,000 in student loan debt, not to mention students who are attending school out of state, such as myself.

Since I live out of state from the school I have committed to, my parents are faced with paying upwards of $70,000 per year from out-of-state tuition costs.

Students who strive to do better than their home state and want to go to a “prestigious” school have to face the crippling debt with it, and is it even worth it?

College education is now elitist, only the people who can afford to pay for it can receive it- help for the middle class through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, is practically non-existent.

Through a calculator that takes into account the financial stability and tax records of parents, FAFSA determines whether parents of incoming college students can afford to pay full price, and it’s mostly wrong.

As FAFSA denied me substantial financial aid, they claimed that my family was able to pay for more than $80,000 in tuition charges, but they forgot that there are still bills to be paid and another sibling to be put through school; no one has that kind of money on hand.

Not only has FAFSA failed students, but schools have also become more selective than ever- after this admissions cycle, the nation’s top colleges got more competitive than ever.

Students are now faced with the pressure of getting into schools that are impossible to be accepted into, with rates falling an average of 4.9%, according to Ivywise.com.

While college gets harder to get into, more students are applying- Harvard’s acceptance rate fell from 13.9% to 7.4%, while their application increased by 57%, according to CNBC.

Although college application requirements dropped with the pandemic, more students were rejected from schools as applications increased.

Effective steps have been taken to be more inclusive to the applicant pool, outdated and useless testing, such as the SATs and the ACTs are actively being phased out by University of California schools.

Even if colleges are taking two steps forward, they are taking four steps back by lowering their acceptance rates, there’s no use in phasing out standardized testing if schools become more selective.

As the class of 2021 prepares to go into their first year of college, we are reminded of the tough journey we took during a pandemic to work our way into the top schools, yet we were still let down by a system who fails to support the middle-class and are left to drown in debt in the name of higher education.