The lack of financial aid options and cost of tuition to attend college has been an ongoing issue for numerous middle-class families across the United States. According to the Washington Post, “Middle-class families are fed up with their financial aid options.”
As stated by the College Board, about 41 percent of students in the United States rely on financial aid while only 16 percent said scholarships pay for their college tuition.
Each student that applies for financial assistance is offered a different amount of aid depending on the income of his or her parents. However, it is offered for no more than 12 semesters, according to the Federal Student Aid website.
“I believe financial aid should give each student the amount of money they need to graduate, they will have to pay it back anyway,” said Kalya Urquhart, a junior family and child science major at Florida State University.
The median income in Florida allots $8,400 per individual in a household, which is not enough to cover tuition costs of a four-year college institution, especially when tuition for out-of-state students is nearly double the cost of an in-state-student.
According to research by the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), even families earning over $100,000 a year can't afford nearly 60 percent of U.S. colleges.
The 2018-2019 cost of attendance at Florida A&M is $23,206 for in-state students and $35,152 for out of state students living on campus. This is an increase from the 2017-2018 academic year attendance cost from $22,880 for in-state students and $34,862 for out of state students living on campus.
Jean Desire, a junior physical therapy major at Florida A&M, stated, “I cannot afford to take 15 credit hours per semester, so I won’t graduate in 4 years.”
The high costs of tuition have caused students to get jobs to pay their school balance. Nearly four out of five college students maintain part-time jobs averaging 19 hours a week but just 18 percent actually pay their way through school, according to a poll by the Huffington Post.
“I work to pay for school, but after I get off I am too tired to do school work,” stated Demi Harris, a second-year agriculture major at Tallahassee Community College.
According to the Higher Education Project, nearly half of all full-time students with jobs work hours that negatively impact on academic performance
“I see students take longer than usual to graduate because they have to get jobs to enroll in school part or full time,” stated Shelia Flowers, advisor at FAMU’s Office of Financial Aid.
According to an article by USA Today, 68% of students’ graduate college in debt, averaging about $30,100 per borrower.
Students are encouraged to apply for as many scholarships as possible to decrease the risk of having to rely on student loans to pay for college tuition and other school expenses, such as books, student housing and meal plans.