Why Does My Middle-Class Background Plus College Equal A Life Of Debt?

Why Does My Middle-Class Background Plus College Equal A Life Of Debt?

Why must I put myself in enormous debt just to attend college?


College is outrageously expensive, that much is known. I remember being a junior in high school, searching for higher education and my eyes widening at the estimated costs.

What I didn't know was that the average cost of tuition that Google displayed did not account for room and board, a meal plan, transportation fees, and many more expenses that I was expected to cover. Everything added up to large sums which calculated to even greater totals for my four years of attendance. It was extremely overwhelming and I scurried to apply for as many scholarships as I could.

The dreaded time to fill out the FASFA came.

I was puzzled because they asked about my parent's financial information and barely anything about my own. How did that make sense? I was the one who was paying for my college education. I had no college fund that my parents had started when I was a baby. I was raised in a middle-class family all of my life, my mother and father had no extra money to put aside for any of my siblings' higher education payments, my situation was no different. I always had food in front of me and clothes on my back (even if they were my older sister's hand-me-downs), why should that determine how much money I received to pay for college?

I think it's obvious to say that I picked the University of Rhode Island.

The only financial aid given to me were two federal loans. Loans.

Money that I had to pay back that had interest. I had worked my butt off in high school to obtain a 4.26 GPA, I was apart of the National and Rhode Island Honor Society, I was in the school chorus, I was even taking AP courses and extra credit courses to boost my academic standards and I received two scholarships which I am grateful for, but I can't help but feel disappointed that I only had won two and they were the amount of money that they were. I had to take out a private loan which is infamously known to have large interest rates. I am paying back the private loan every month and it is kicking me right in the behind. I have to work while trying to study for my biology exams and doing my writing class assignments so I can pay a loan. Looking at my bill for only one semester made my stomach churn, knowing I would spend thousands of dollars just to graduate.

I didn't account how much books were going to cost, either.

Even with sites like Chegg and Amazon, URI professors excel in assigning books that are exclusive only to the URI bookstore. I had to ask my sister to borrow a couple hundred greens just to buy my materials for this semester. Also, if you join a sorority or fraternity, there are member dues that you must pay for! While joining a sorority or frat is a choice, lifelong friends are typically made in Greek Life and you wouldn't want to miss out on the sisterhood or the brotherhood. FOMO is real.

Let us not forget the price of printing out paper and doing your laundry.

Buying a printer is an easy alternative to paying 25 to 35 cents just to print a single piece of paper, but laundry is a total scam. It costs $1.25 to wash and $1.50 to dry and while that doesn't seem like a lot, it adds up pretty quick because the dryers suck (you have to put your clothes through twice) and the machines always eat my quarters if I don't use my card. Do you guys want me to walk around in dirty laundry clothing?

I seriously debated becoming a stripper or a sugar baby to pay off my student loans.

I love URI and don't regret attending, but I know that I am going to have to work multiple jobs in the future to pay off loans and provide for my regular bills as well. I know there are students who need more help than I do, but why do I get almost nothing? I can't just take a whole semester's tuition out of one of my parent's paychecks! It is getting extremely difficult for any student to pay for college with the ever-rising cost of attendance. However, in today's society, to be hired for a job, you must have a college degree with a couple years of experience.

Why does the middle-class have to suffer in tremendous debt for most likely the rest of their life just to be able to be considered for a job?

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Every Time I See A College Tour Group Walk By I Just Want to Scream 'It's a TRAAAPP!'

The tour guide is good - they're just a liar.

It's officially that time of year - anywhere you walk on campus, there's bound to be a gaggle of parents and befuddled high school students winding their way through building after building. In front of them stands an overenthusiastic tour guide, spouting off statistics about the school so fast they'll make your head spin.

Unfortunately, what the tour guide says doesn't exactly line up with what goes on at the school. Oh, the things we students wish we could shout out to the parents as they pass by.

1. "You'll get sick of the dining!"

It may look like there's something new to eat every single day, but by the end of the semester, you'll be sick of everything except the things closest at home.

2. "I'm only here for the free t-shirts!"


3. "IT'S A TRAP!"

Seriously, part two. You get two of three things: a social life, sleep, or good grades. Whoever said you could have all three is lying.

4. "Welcome to the real world, suckers!"

It's got confrontation, taking care of yourself, and formal emails. (Which, of course, your professor will respond with 'k thnx bai' sent from their iPhone.)

5. "Say goodbye to sleep!"

There are three types of people on campus: tea drinkers, coffee drinkers, and people with energy drinks running through their veins.


Check all of your housing options before you move in. The dorm they're showing you might be the worst housing area on campus.


You're getting squat. Free tuition? Try the tune of $13k a year. Or more. Depending.

8. "The library is NOT the best study place."

Depending on your major, there are several places for you to study that aren't the library.

9. "The health center sucks!"

True fact: word through the grapevine is that someone once got antibiotics for a sprained ankle.You may as well sell that leg on the black market to cover the costs.

10. "Believe the roommate horror stories!"

All random roommates are horrible unless proven otherwise. (But be wary of everyone.)

11. "SI (student instructor) sessions are useless."

You will learn nothing . Chances are you'll end up correcting the instructor.

12. "The freshman fifteen is optional."

Some people don't gain it at all, and some people really gain it. It's up to you.

13. "You'll need a car!!"

If, for some reason you can't pay for the overpriced parking pass, find a friend who can.

14. "Hookup culture is real!"

But it's not for everyone. Just because everyone is doing it doesn't mean you have to.

15. "Campus jobs are a myth!"

Campus job? What's a campus job? Do you have work-study? No? No job for you. Have you tried the local coffee shop?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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Hey ECU, We Really Need Some More Parking, But Sure, Go Ahead And Spend The Money On ANOTHER Student Center

Seriously, who decides what our tuition should be spent on?


I get the "I'm here" text, and I bound down the stairs and plop myself into my friend's car. "Where can I park?" Craning my neck to search for an empty spot, I reply, "Wherever you see an open spot. This is war." We spend the first 15 minutes of our visit together driving around, waiting for those blessed white lights to signal someone leaving.

Later on that night, my friend mentions they're hungry. I hype them up to go to the new student center, given all the options. "Should we drive to it?"

I laugh, "And give up our spot?" We pull up the bus schedule and wait for the next one.

While munching on Canes' chicken, we sit and talk. "This place is HUGE." I shrug, and then they ask, "You don't like it?" I sigh and proceed to tell them what I'm about to tell you.

I love the student center. It's cool. A nice place to do homework, and it does give more options for food. But I remind my friend about our parking ordeal. "We need more parking but… Did they spend our money to build this instead? We didn't NEED this."

This may not seem like a big deal, but this isn't the only problem students have on campus.

We are shocked when we have hot showers. We are paying literal thousands to be here, and yet hot showers is a treat. Isn't that kind of a basic expectation?

There are about 400 students living in my residence hall, but we only have about 16 clothes washers and dryers. People won't move their stuff in a timely manner, so we have to wait (or some people just take your clothes out).

My friend is having to go on the "Elimination Diet", due to the fact that she constantly breaks out into heat rashes all the time, which may actually be allergic reactions to some food she's eating. But how can she even maintain this when the dining halls really offer no healthy food options?

Buses are continuously overcrowded. But we will see buses continuing routes, with the words "NOT IN SERVICE". People stand around and wait for the next one.

When walking to the library from my dorm (because the bus is overcrowded), I can spot an unfinished, unnecessary sidewalk that ends in the middle of… nowhere. They took the time and resources to build a sidewalk with no purpose.

I'm not trying to complain. I'm trying to bring attention. We have a new student center, but we can't have hot showers?

I feel like things need to be re-prioritized.

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