Colossal college costs

Sofia Jordao and Damian Greenhough

For the past 40 years, the cost of college has been steadily increasing to record-breaking numbers, whilst the vast majority of the population still does not have the means to pursue
higher education.
According to The National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of college in the United States has risen by 1,200%, rising from $10,227 in 1980 to $34,059 in 2020.
This rise in cost is facilitated by a decrease in state funding, increased demand for higher education, and increased federal aid.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), in Pennsylvania, state funding for higher education decreased by almost 33% between 2008 and 2019.
Additionally, according to the CBPP, the cost of tuition at a four-year public college increased by nearly 35%.
Within the last eight years, the cost of living on campus has risen by nearly $3,000, from $12,479 in 2012, to $15,256 in 2020, according to
In the United States alone, 37.9 million people live in poverty, and in Bucks County, specifically, almost 35,000 people do as well, according to the 2020 census.
Now, people with already limited access to education are pulled further away from the possibility of pursuing a degree.
Marlie Gay, a sophomore at Neshaminy High School, conveyed her worries about the cost of her future college education.
“Unless I get a scholarship or something else, I’m probably only going to college for two years or not going at all and just getting a job,” Gay explained. “A huge reason people join extracurriculars is for the benefits of scholarships; that’s why I joined. Most people just can’t afford it.”
While some teenagers turn to extracurriculars as a means of funding their education, some people do not have the time.
In the United States, 17.5 million people between the ages of 16 and 24 work to support their families, according to CBS. Given their situation, they might not have time to spare for clubs or sports. Students may even sacrifice their grades and schoolwork to earn money and provide for their families.
In 2020, over 17% of students worked during the school year, according to Statista.
Students can get easily fatigued and burnt out, trying to balance their academic and work life, consequently leading to a decrease in academic performance.
Maritza Gonzalez, a sophomore at NHS, conveyed her experience balancing work and school.
“In general, as a high school student, working after a long day and then going to work really affects the time I have to do homework and still have time for myself,” Gonzalez expressed.“At times it can be exhausting.”
The cost of college further perpetuates the education gap between the wealthy and the poor. While lower-income families have to send their children to work at a young age, children from well-off families can focus on their
education, setting them up for success.