The Costs of Higher Education in America

Higher education in America has had its fair share of bumpy roads throughout history. Now more than ever the opportunity for all people from all walks of life to be able to afford an education is at risk In the past decade and a half there has been an ever-increasing income gap between the top one percent and middle to lower class citizens. This poses a very real and perilous issue when it comes to education, with the rich getting richer and the poor staying poor, there are fewer opportunities for low-income Americans to be able to afford higher education.

This results in fewer Americans attending college and being unable to obtain a degree to put to effective use. And with fewer Americans going to college, over time Americans of the middle and lower class will fall to ashes and never have the chance to rise from those ashes to glory. The United States of America is unique to all other countries because of its promise for the opportunity to become who you want to become.

But what happens when that promise falters; when the promise starts turning into a lie or a false hope? That is the issue that America faces today, with its shocking income differences and money-driven law-making system. The fact of the matter is, income inequality is at an all time high in America and no one seems to care. Not the government, not the rich on Wall Street, no one Furthermore the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) did a study back in 2007 and found “the average aftemax income of the top 1 percent of earners ‘nearly quadrupled, from $347,000 to over $13 million,’ a 281 percent increase” (Clemmitt).

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In the same study in 2007 the CBPP also found “the after-tax income of the middle fifth of the population rose from $44,100 to $55,300, or 25 percent, while the bottom fifth saw its average after-tax income grow from $15,300 to $17,600, or 16 percent,“(Clemmitt). This study shows that income inequality in America is beyond the point of absurdity.

With the large of an income gap how can one possibly hope to rise up in wealth, when all their money is being taken away from them through government taxes? While on the subject of government taxation according to Clemmitt and a supporting chart, “The average income of the top 400 American households increased from $71 million in 1992 to $357 million in 2007 7 a 403 percent rise — while the effective tax rate dropped from 26 percent to 17 percent. By comparison, the bottom 90 percent of earners saw their income rise from about $29,000 to about $33,000 7 a modest 14 percent increase”(Clemmitt). This evidence shows that the government, while it may not be the sole reason for the income inequality in America, definitely plays a very large role. If the government is supposed to work for the people and by the people, then why is it intentionally screwing them over? Why is it that the top earning Americans, that make millions to billions of dollars, see a drop in their tax rates and astronomical increases in their average income; while to bottom earners see only fractional increases in income compared to the rich?

These questions are by no doubt asked, at least hopefully, but these questions are obviously falling on deaf ears or rather bought or bribed ears. No most would say, no our government is a sovereign body, which acts in the interest of the general public and not in the interests the wealthy. But this could be the case it could not be, whatever the reason there has to an explanation for this blatant and ridiculous income gap that seems to point toward the government as the sole party responsible. Now the government is not the sole contributor to income inequality in America, there are many other factors at play. For instance, education plays a big role in determining one’s income. In today’s America, everyone wants to have a nice paying job that allows for more than just getting by paycheck to paycheck. But this want can only be satisfied by some form of higher education. It is widely known that in today’s world, individuals need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field.

Without any form a degree one cannot in their wildest dreams hope to improve their economic status. But as every person knows college is not free and far from it at best Furthermore Tom Price, a freelance writer in Washington, DC, is a former Washington correspondent for Cox Newspapers, and a politics writer for newspapers in Dayton, Ohio, “The increases raise the total cost 7 tuitions, fees and room and board 7 of attending a residential, four-year state school by 918 percent and 5.7 at private institutions. The cost of attending an elite private university now can approach an eye-popping $40,000 a year, while the average private school costs $26,854 (of which $19,710 is for tuition and fees). In—state students at public four-year institutions pay an average of $10,636 (including $4,694 for tuition and fees)” (Price) Price brings to light some troubling evidence, with college tuition prices skyrocketing as they are unequal income levels can affect the number of college graduates and the number of college applicants and enrollees.

The disastrous levels of income inequality in America will have by the biggest impact on Americans looking to further their education. Without a substantial form of income low income Americans cannot possibly fathom attending college and racking up mountains of college tuition debt and fees with no real guarantee of being able to pay them. Because of income inequality in America, education, the one thing everyone should be entitled to, is subtly being denied. Furthermore with college tuition and fee costs rising college could soon become only a luxury the rich could afford. This is not at all unlikely, looking back to how the wealthiest households in America seem to be the only ones gaining substantial income; because of this the luxury of college and higher education opportunities may only be a luxury for the rich.

While the government, rather surprisingly, has done numerous things to aid low-income households to afford college, for example, “Congress in 1978 passed the Middle Income Student Association. Act, which expanded eligibility for Pell Grants and made federal loans available to students of all income levels“(Price). This shows us that the government does seem to somewhat care for the general well-being of its lower income citizens. But whatever positives the government has brought to the table are far outweighed by the negatives because due to their draining tax rates on low-income Americans and ever-increasing tax breaks on the wealthy, most low-income Americans will not be able to attend college or attain some form of higher education. This will lead the United States into a never-ending downward spiral of countless uneducated Americans, all because the government didn’t wake up and realize what it was doing to a once beautiful nation that is now scarred with greed and corruption.

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The Costs of Higher Education in America. (2023, Mar 19). Retrieved from

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