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College Affordability in the United States

As the cost of education in the United States grows, more and more young people find themselves unable to pay for the degree. Hall mentions the fact that the cost of attending institutions doubled during 1980-1990 and experienced the same changes during 1990-2000 (par. 2). This fact helps to understand the range of the problem, as such tendencies are, unfortunately, not accompanied by the same volume of growing incomes among American average families.

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Such a situation can cause serious complications for the future of US society. Cruz analyzes the problem of affordability of higher education and emphasizes its direct relation to the ability of the youth coming from low-income families to become a potential middle class (par. 3). The existence of this opportunity is of vital importance, as promoting the growth of the middle class is an essential step towards eliminating inequality among the population of the country (Cruz par. 15).

Student loans are not able to solve the problem, as after graduating from higher education institutions the students from low-income families find themselves severely in debt. Cruz gives an example of a 19-year-old student who has a partial scholarship and will still owe nearly seventy-five thousand dollars after graduation (par. 4). Even students with scholarships and part-time jobs are hardly able to manage to graduate from college or university without being in debt if their parents cannot provide corresponding financial help. Such situations are common all over the United States and can prevent potential students from regarding higher education as a considerable opportunity.

Analyzing the causes of the current process related to price rises in education and tendencies involved in it can help to reveal the possible solutions. The first cause of the process can be identified as reductions in spending on higher educations by state and federal governments. Hall mentions this tendency as the reason for transferring the costs to students (par. 3). However, the author emphasizes that there are many other factors, including huge spending for “athletic programs, extravagant recreational facilities, and specialized food services” (Hall par. 3). Such services appear to be luxuries, which are not essential for providing efficient education.

Therefore, spending on them could be reduced in the current situation. Besides, the author claims that universities might have a private interest in increased costs due to their inclination to promoting selectivity (Hall par. 3). Cruz mentions another problem causing the issue of costly education related to negative tendencies of investing a considerable amount of grant aid on wealthy students (par. 7).

Such actions can be considered inappropriate in the current situation, as benefiting families with low income should be the primary priority. Besides factors related to institutions’ programs and priorities, and economic factors can also be considered as the cause of low ability of students to pay for education. Hall emphasizes the contribution of economic crisis and corporate deregulation to the “income divide” causing reducing paying capacity of lower and middle class. The analysis of the causes of the crisis in the affordability of education mentioned above reveals the high importance of providing corresponding policies regulating the spending of the institutions and stimulating economic stabilization in the country.

The potential solutions should take into account both the interests of prospective students and educational institutions. Such a strategy will help to provide the appropriate level of supply and demand for higher education. Cruz suggests that federal policymakers should “lower the income caps for higher education tax credits and deductions” (par. 12). Hall also pays attention to the importance of federal regulation of the activities of institutions related to spending huge amounts of money for non-educational facilities, such as dining rooms or athletic facilities (par. 5).

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Such services do not play an essential role in providing the functioning of educational institutions and can be regarded as providing extra opportunities for non-academic activities. As such activities are not directly related to the process of receiving knowledge by the students, policymakers should encourage the institutions to plan the distribution of investments based on the primary priorities, which include providing low-income students with the opportunity to get higher education.

The reductions in investing in this sector will help to use the saved money for grants and scholarships supporting the students with low paying capacity. Besides, Cruz states that instead of offering grants for elite students, the institutional policymakers should focus on providing the maximum range of opportunities for those categories of students who need the financial support most (par. 14).

Such a strategy will help to attract talented students who find themselves unable to pay for higher education. Both authors stress the importance of dealing with the problem of student loans and creating regulations making the institutions of higher education ensure providing the appropriate skills and career opportunities able to compensate the costs spent on education by the graduate. The analysis of the articles helps to identify current problems in American higher education related to the expensiveness of high education and inappropriate paying capacity of potential students, explore the major causes of the process, and find possible solutions for the existing problems.

Works Cited

Cruz, Jose. College Affordability: Damned If You Go, Damned If You Don’t? 2012. Web.

Hall, Amanda. College Affordability and the Growing Cost of Education. 2013. Web.

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