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Getting an education almost out of reach

POSTED November 10, 2009 9:07 p.m.
I am a strong believer in going to college and getting a degree. It is essential to progress in a professional career and most companies require a bachelor’s degree at minimum. But with the increased tuition prices, it is making a bachelor’s degree almost unattainable let alone getting a master’s degree or a doctorate.
Before tuition was raised due to the down economy, I was having a difficult time paying for my degree. Now as a Chico State alumna, I am the proud owner of a $16,000 student loan bill just for my tuition and books for four years. That doesn’t even include the amount of money my parents owe for supporting my outrageous living habits in Chico and sending me to Italy for a semester.
While at Chico I embraced the life of a college student, surviving on a daily diet of Ramen noodles and popcorn just to save a couple of bucks.   
Our country is suppose to be about making education available to everyone, but as a person in the middle class, I could barely afford getting my bachelor’s degree. How are people going to get an education who are struggling right now to even put food on the table?
Now that I am part of the work force, I was thinking that I could afford to work towards getting my master’s degree. But with my student loan debt hovering over my finances, a master’s degree is out of my reach for the time being.
According to a survey released by the College Board, tuition fees at a private four-year university have risen by 4.4 percent in the current school year to $26,273 with fees at a public four-year university hitting a 6 percent increase in tuition fees at $7,020.
With tuition fees at the rate they are now, attending a public university for four years will leave a student with a bill of $28,080, and that’s not including the interest they add onto the bill.
To pay for their education most students use financial aid, grants and scholarships. But with the down economy, grant money and the availability of financial aid isn’t keeping up with the increasing costs of school, according to an article in CNN Money. Grant funding only grew about 4.7 percent in the 2008/2009 academic year compared to the 6 percent increase in tuition for public universities.
There is not a lot anyone can do with the increased tuition prices because the schools aren’t even getting the money they need to provide an education for the students. But, come on America! Let’s make some changes and give the students a chance to enjoy and embrace their education instead of dreading that tuition check they have to write out every semester. Don’t even get me started about the book prices!  
It has been a constant circle of running around like a dog chasing its tail, trying to bring logic to obtaining an education. You need money to get an education to get a job. But you also need an education to get a job to get money. One of these days, we will figure it out.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.
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