Government funding should be more accessible for students

Katya Tarabrina, Opinions Editor

Once you’re in high school, it feels like this is the worst it will get. Piles of homework, expectations from parents and teachers which are almost impossible to meet and the fear of not measuring up to your fellow peers. 

But then you get to college. Now, not only do you have to worry about being able to have time to do all your homework, which is now harder than ever, but also about being able to pay for your education. 

Unless you have been raised on gold and riches or your parents saved up money for college since the day you were born, chances are getting government funding is your best bet for being able to afford college. But even with that little funding that is available, which doesn’t always guarantee a full ride, there are still huge costs that are bestowed on you, which only increase with interest long after you finish college. 

Currently, student loans take up the second place for the highest amount of debt owed in America with about $1.71 trillion. That’s accounting for about 44.7 million borrowers.

Not many politicians are showing interest in what exactly needs to be done in order to eliminate this crisis. In turn, student loan debts only increase every year. 

Everybody knows about scholarships, which we are encouraged to apply for as early as possible. The pool of scholarships can either increase or decrease all based on a student’s grade average, involvement in extracurriculars, ethnicity and other factors. 

However, when you are a student without an outstanding record of grades, or you didn’t involve yourself in school sports, the options become very limited. When you study at a college that relies on giving funding to students in certain fields — for example, agriculture in Kansas — it’s easy to find something that accounts for that. But if you’re studying something more specialized, scholarships are exponentially harder to find.  

As someone who has never taken part in school athletics and has had grades not out-of-the-ordinary, the options for scholarships are almost non-existent. Though my financial situation happens to fall under what is considered misfortunate, that is the only factor I can rely on. There are few other things that make me stand out from other students attending school in America; those factors are almost too unique to the point where scholarships for them don’t exist. I won’t find a scholarship in Kansas for being an immigrant from Russia. Most scholarships based on ethnicity and immigration unfortunately don’t account for legal immigrants. And I’m sure that it’s like that for many others in similar circumstances as me, worried about whether or not they will owe the education system thousands by age 18. 

When you are about finished with high school, you are legally still not allowed to purchase alcohol. However, you can borrow thousands of dollars you won’t make in years. Or your second option, sign your life to the military, costing you mostly nothing in college tuition, but an unspoken price for your mental and emotional well-being. 

The system that we live in and have to rely on for our education in America is flawed, to say the least. Why should someone who just finished being a teenager have to worry about something so serious? Why should students like me have to consider such extremes as the military just so we can have peace of mind with our education experience? You just got thrown into the world, and you’re immediately expected to possess serious amounts of money. Doesn’t leave a lot of options. 

This is not something that should be our normal, but unfortunately it is. We are taught to start thinking about college from a very young age, which creates a lot of stress and worry for the future. To eliminate some of those struggles is to create an environment where there are many options available for a wide array of different people, because at the end of the day, everyone has different situations.

We need to find a way for schools to provide more financial aid to those in need of it. There are millions of dollars spent by schools every year which could make a substantial difference in students’ lives. So why are schools not doing more? When you’re studying something that could possibly someday make you change the world, money should be the least of your worries.