Destroying squeals of joy and sighs of relief of those opening an acceptance letter, the exorbitant price of college poses an inescapable financial burden upon its prospective students. In deciding which college to attend, money should be a critical factor, but not the ultimate.
In the short term, cost-effective schools will provide financial security for graduating students who have not yet established themselves professionally. Richard Montgomery senior Jessica Kang expressed that “it’s important to think about how to pay off debt after school and how that may affect [future] professional goals.”
Furthermore, Churchill senior WeiAnne Reidy emphasized that “education is above adequate wherever a student goes.” Although some colleges are undeniably more difficult or more prestigious, it is arguable whether or not the quality of education differs significantly among major schools. “It makes so much more sense for a student to start post-college life with zero debt so [he/she] can use income to fund [him/her]self,” Reidy continued. Senior Michelle Wang also explained that “money should be heavily factored in because there is minimal point to obtaining a great education if [one] can’t put it to its maximum use because [one] would need to shoulder enormous, crippling debt.”
Inevitably, troubles in the financial domain can interfere with one’s mindset towards learning in college. Senior Frankie Soucy, recently admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology, claimed “it’s hard to go somewhere and succeed when your mind is overburdened by financial concerns.”
Moreover, a cost-effective college would be a better choice in terms limiting financial stress in preparation for graduate school, where practice and hands-on experience are plentiful. Most likely, employers also emphasize the graduate school, overshadowing the undergraduate school, such that an expensive education may not even mean a great career. Junior Andy Kostka even acknowledged that “graduate school is often paid for by a university if [a student] help[s] as a teaching assistant.”
However, the monetary cost of college often buys the invaluable. Kang suggested that “many expensive, prestigious schools will give students those that [are not available] at a cheaper school, like an incredible, global education, and important connections that will help them later in life.”
Aside from the educational aspects, many students have a dream school that they spend years working towards; financial burdens should not inhibit realization of that dream. “Anyone should have the opportunity and privilege to get whatever education they want regardless of the cost,” said junior Audrey Krimm.
Ultimately, although cost-effective colleges are smart in terms of financial stability, the monetary aspects should not outweigh the personal desire to attend, nor the intellectual environment of such schools.
Article by the MoCo Student staff columnist Yueyang Ying of Richard Montgomery High School
Graphic by the MoCo Student staff graphic artist Aashna Pradhan of Richard Montgomery High School