Blog 5

The issues surrounding financial aid for colleges in the US has significantly increased in the past years. This is due to increasing tuition costs and a lack of accessible aid from the government. As many lower to middle class families’ children apply for college, they realize the how big the burden of figuring out how to pay for their children’s education is. Parents, potential students, current students, and post-graduates face this burden.

Nowadays, federal aid is generally given to those whose parents’ income is below the 25 percentile, but what about the rest of those who can’t afford it either? Although programs like FAFSA, scholarships, and grants are available, they’re not accessible to everyone. A frequent saying among these individuals is: “too rich for FAFSA, but too poor for college.”

In the article “Why College is Out of Reach for the Middle Class” by Annie Reneau, she discusses the burden her and her husband bare when they don’t receive enough aid for their child’s education. She explains that while they make enough to afford their living situation, they can’t afford to pay what the government and institution expects them to pay.

The issue with FAFSA and financial aid is that they only take income into account. They don’t take bills, emergency expenses, retirement savings, or the normal cost of living for an average middle class family into account. While the government may think you can afford to contribute thousands of dollars, you truly might not be able to.

In the Forbes article, “Too Poor for College, Too Rich for Financial Aid” the author briefly describes the journey of a family having a kid get accepted into a great school and being overjoyed, then looking at the cost and feeling defeated. In the article, the family received $6,000 in financial aid, but was still expected to cover $48,000. $48,000 can be a large amount of a household’s income, which is just shy of the median income for middle class families in the US.

What’s the only alternative? Loans. While loans can be helpful, they can also be a huge burden for those who have to repay $200,000 or more after graduation, and many will have to work on repaying these for the rest of their lives. This burden can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal ideation for some.

Victoria Wang of “Who What Why” wrote an article in May of 2019 about the increased statistics surrounding the burdens of debt. In her article, “Killer Loans – College Debt Triggers Depression and Suicide,” she reports numerous statistics about students who would rather take their own life than live a life of debt from student loans.

This has become a very serious problem, especially when students are dwindling into depression and anxiety from the cost of an education alone, not even to mention the stress and anxiety that comes from a course load.

In my visual argument, I plan to address this issue with statistics and images of the stress that is put on stakeholders because of the issue of wanting to live the “American Dream” but not being able to afford it.