Throughout the past 70 years, colleges and universities have been struggling with the increasing dropout rates. So, why is it that when it comes to paying for tuition these colleges and universities do not really help the students try to stay in courses, but put more finical burden on the students? Such as student loans or even sending the students to collection agents just because, they missed one payment.
First, let us talk about some of the reasons college level students drop out of their courses. While financial burdens/issues are the top most reasons students drop out, researchers and everyone else have to look deeper into the other reasons. Such as the student can have family matters that pop up and make it so, they cannot attend school anymore. For example, let us say student (A) is almost done with their associates degree, but then bam! Student (A’s) dad has a stroke and mom needs to continue to work to keep her job, what does student (A) do? Do they stay in school and put the finical burden on the mom or do they drop out and help mom take care of dad? Most likely student (A) is going to drop out because family matters more to them than an associate’s degree. Another reason can be that the student keeps failing their courses and does not want to repeat them because it cost money.
How can colleges and universities help students in these situations see that they don’t have to dropout and that the college or university is willing to help students not get into a lot of student debt?
This takes me to my next reason why college dropout rates are increasing. Most students that start college are still under their parents as a dependent, which means that the student will be using the parent’s income on their financial aid form. Why bring this up? Tiffany Baker a Program Coordinator in the office of financial aid at Eastern Washington University said, “If the parents or the student’s income is more than $5500 they are not eligible for Pell grant. Then we look at income and household size and figure out if the students are eligible for state need grant or not. But most of the time every student is offered a type of loan”. Which means the student is pretty much screwed and will be in debt. This can cause many student to dropout because they do not have the resources to help get them through the rest of their courses.
Yes, there are scholarships but they do not always work out because multiple other students try and get the same scholarship and most of the time the scholarship donors only pick either one or maybe at least three students to receive it. Then with the scholarship the amount can range from $500-all fours paid for, but most of the time its only thousands of dollars like $3,000 for the whole year. That could be enough to pay for two classes for a quarter then the student will have to pay the rest out of pocket. Another thing with scholarships the donors set standards in order to keep the scholarship. For example, at Eastern Washington University the scholarship recipient has to be in at least 10 credit hours in order to keep the scholarship.
So, how do we help college and university students stay in college and finish their degree? Well we can try and get the cost of college lowered and give out more scholarships. With scholarships in order for them to help the students there needs to be a fair chance for everybody that applies for them. As for tuition being lowered I don’t ever see that happening because the cost of keeping the university up in running will increase and how else would the university pay for that other than people paying for their tuition? Also, how is it fair for students that are out of state students? Their tuition is way more. For example, at Eastern Washington University out-of-state tuition and fees cost $23,862, but for in-state tuition and fees cost $7,109. So, how is this fair? Why do out-of-state students pay more just because they aren’t a “permanent” resident? Right away we see that college isn’t fair to all the students if they all pay different amounts just because some live outside of the state.
The second most reason why college students dropout of college is social or family reasons. An example of this could be my own personal story. Last year at the end of June I had just finished going to Spokane Falls Community College and I was planning on going to Eastern Washington University in the fall of 2019, something almost changed that. My dad ended up in the hospital due to a stroke and it made it so he couldn’t move his whole right side and he couldn’t speak. I was on the edge of quitting college because I knew my dad was going to need a lot of help and my mom needed to work, but my mom told me that it would be okay if I stated in college. She didn’t want me to put my future on hold like she did when she was in college. So, not matter where you are at in getting your degree something can popup and derail your journey of getting it.
In conclusion, most students that go or went to college will have some kind of debt and for what? Just to have some college credits and not a degree because they can’t afford to pay for the rest of their college courses or a family issue comes up. College students need the university and colleges to take care of them and help them out when one or more of these reasons comes up and stops them from learning and finishing their degrees.