If you're in college, chances are that you apply for some form of financial aid each year. Maybe it comes in the form of a federal grant or loan, or maybe it comes in the form of an academic scholarship. Maybe you receive some help from your family. Maybe you work to pay for your education. Even with all of the various options and strategies, many college students struggle with the precarious weight of the financial burden. There's a constant battle between the desire to pursue your dreams and the obligation to produce significant amounts of money in order to do so. Your dreams are not free; there is always a price to pay. Do you ever wonder how many dreams are squandered because people can't afford to go to college? The answer: too many.

Throughout their school years, children are often told by parents and teachers that they can be anyone or do anything they want if they have enough dedication. Children grow up with the illusion that, although there are obstacles in life, those obstacles do not have the power to stop them. While I wish that were true, it is not; money is often the deciding factor in many of life's decisions, and unfortunately, that includes school. So when it comes time to apply to colleges, there is a revelation that sometimes dedication is not enough to get what you want.

But imagine if dedication were enough to get you what you want. What if all you needed to achieve your dreams was the will to do so? What if everyone who wanted to go to college was able to? If higher education were funded by the government, like public primary and secondary schools are, then this fantasy could become a reality. I know it wouldn't be a simple undertaking. Inevitably, there would be much controversy and debate concerning the methods that would be used to garner this funding. Someone might propose an increase in taxes. The idea of a tax increase would make many people uneasy, but I think it would be worth it if it were done fairly and correctly. Think of it as an investment in society; if more people were able to continue their education, there would be more people who would be able to fulfill their potential and create positive change. Readily-available and easily-accessible education would bring power and influence to more of the people and provide them with more opportunities to make their voices heard.

It is also worth mentioning the personal benefits that would arise from the government funding of higher education. There would be less financial burdens for students to carry, and as a result, there would be less stress. Students would be able to devote more time and focus on their studies, enabling them to do better academically. Maybe some students would have more opportunities to invest in priceless life experiences, such as travel, that would provide further education to supplement what they learn in school. Academic growth would be a more attainable goal, and finding a job with a substantial salary would be much easier.

As an aspiring educator, it seems obvious to me that students should not be obligated to bear financial burdens in order to get an education. There's just so much potential that is not being realized because of the hardships that come with the college process. If I ever have children, I do not want to have to tell them, "You can't go to college because we don't have enough money." There are people who have to do this, who have to say this to their children. And while it is possible to get through college with academic scholarships, many families still struggle despite this. I don't want to continue seeing students on the verge of giving up because of money. Everyone deserves a truly equal opportunity to pursue education.