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High Cost of Attending College 

The prohibitively high cost of attending college is causing enrollment to drop. It’s not just 4-year colleges that are showing drops in enrollment. Community colleges have been in a drought for almost 10 years now. In this era, relying on student aid or government aid is like waiting around for pigs to start flying. “Among dependent community college students, 19 percent have family incomes of less than $20,000, putting them near or below the poverty line. Among independent community college students, 48 percent have incomes of less than $20,000. Sixty-seven percent of community college students work while in college, with 32 percent working 35 or more hours per week. Yet only 2 percent of community college students receive any Federal Work Study aid, compared with 25 percent of students at private four-year colleges,” according to Community College Research Center in “Community College FAQs.” Ashley Smith claims in “No Bottom Yet in 2-Year College Enrollments,” that “Community colleges are used to declining enrollments when the economy is strong, and unemployment is low. But some researchers are warning colleges that future declines are only expected to get worse amid cuts in state funding and more pressure on institutions to produce measurable outcomes.” The author expects the drought to never change because of the fact that we rely so much on student aid to get kids into school.  A director of strategic research at EAB stated that they absolutely need to be worried right now. This isn’t an issue that can be just pushed to the side. The problem has nothing to do with population. When colleges are losing over 50 percent of their students in the matriculation process, you are suspended to look within. When looking within you can see that a lot of students are deciding to not attend because of financial reasons. We can’t blame this all on the government though. The failure of schools to get kids to excel is a reason why the government is cutting back for community colleges. Ashley Smith claims in “No Bottom Yet in 2-Year College Enrollments”, that “EAB found that out of 100 students who apply to a two-year college, 56 are lost during onboarding, 23 drops out and just five are still enrolled after six years. Only nine of the 100 complete an associate degree and seven complete a bachelor’s degree.” The government will not waste their money trying to fund students when statistics show that they will just end up dropping out or even fail out. 

 Donna Desrochers and Steven Hurlburt stated that “2013 Across higher education, revenues per FTE student were higher in 2013 than a decade earlier, but only private institutions and public research universities had fully recovered revenue losses experienced since the 2008 recession.” That schools don’t care too much about the kids getting into the school because of the fact that they use tuition as a scapegoat to get out of financial trouble. Where does the money go? What are colleges buying? These are questions that constantly cross my mind as a student. A building doesn’t attract students that just want a degree. My conclusion would be investing in programs that will guarantee more students being successful in private or public institutions. This would attract more students because it will show that the school really cares about us and doesn’t just want our money. There are some shocking facts out there that will leave you shaking your head. Many say that colleges are expensive because of the fact that many of the institutions need more faculty members and they need to figure out how to pay them all. That dream house or dream car that you wanted for years can come to an end after noticing how much in debt you are in student loans. Hillary Hoffower in “College is more expensive than it’s ever been, and the 5 reasons why to suggest it’s only going to get worse,” claims that “At a four-year nonprofit private institution, tuition and room and board is $46,950, on average. Four-year public colleges charge an average of $20,770 a year for tuition, fees, and room and board. For out-of-state students, the total goes up to $36,420.” The numbers are ridiculous, we shouldn’t treat kids that want to better themselves like this. A lot of people miss out on this opportunity because of selfish institutions. 

Tuition doesn’t just damage the enrollment; it can also cause Demographic shifts. “Demographic shifts may be associated with changes in enrollment such as the growth of various subgroups or the population in general,” according to Nathan Lassila. 71 percent of students often use student loans to pay off school. That’s more than half, which makes me question the effort of colleges looking for a change. Lowering income students are still struggling until this day. In fact, a lot of them are paying more because they are not on the same rate as students that have a higher income. “However, there is a large gap in the ratio of low-income and higher-income students who enroll in post-secondary education,” according to Nathan Lassila. This is a fear for a lot of colleges, but still, they can’t seem to find a solution. If the numbers continue to grow you will see the majority of the higher income families participate in college more than the lower income families. The cost and fees are causing a lot of students to throw in the towel. Why continue to wait on student aid when they’re cutting back? Institutions need a better solution when attacking this problem. Colleges must first understand that a growing number of Americans live in poverty. Two would be that a lot of students are fighting for extra money, so when you try to do scholarships it doesn’t help the situation. It doesn’t help because institutions don’t give out enough scholarships for everybody. The amount of people struggling with the cost of attendance is way higher than the number of scholarships given out. They need to see that the cost scares a lot of students away. Nothing will change but the fact that enrollment will continue to decrease if they don’t take these baby steps. The institutions need to stop sitting around and waiting for a miracle to happen. Waiting around will do nothing but bring grey hairs. This is a serious issue that needs to be spoken on every day. There are too many jobs that require a lot of people to have higher education, but it seems like things will never change for the better for the students. 


Community college enrollment rates expected to keep falling. (2018, June 21). Retrieved March 24, 2019, from

Desrochers, D. M., & Hurlburt, S. (2016). Trends in College Spending: 2003-2013. Where Does the Money Come From?: Where Does It Go? What Does It Buy? Place of publication not identified: Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse.

Hoffower, H. (2018, July 08). College is more expensive than it’s ever been, and the 5 reasons why suggest it’s only going to get worse. Retrieved from

Lassila, Nathan E. (2011) “Effects of Tuition Price, Grant Aid, and Institutional Revenue on Low-Income Student Enrollment,” Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 41: Iss. 3, Article 2. Available at: 

Community College FAQs. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2019, from

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