Obama proposes a plan to tackle rising college costs

Anna Eklund, Contributing Writer

Barack Obama recently gave a speech at the University at Buffalo, the state university of New York. He addressed how he is planning to combat the rising cost of college.

College is a not an easy thing to pay for without scholarships, student loans, and other means of financial aid. With 69.6 percent of graduating high school students going to college (Bureau of labor statistics), it is a very relevant topic for more than two thirds of the graduating population.

At Joliet West, many students are looking for a form of higher education just like many other high school students. In the combined statistics for Joliet West and Joliet Central, only 75 percent of students graduate, and only 34 percent of students are ready for college (Illinois School report card).

In 2013, 63 percent of the school’s population is considered to be part of a low income family, which means the student is eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches, live in care, or whose families receive public aid. Many students at Joliet West and at Central are struggling as is, and the added stress of paying thousands upon thousands of dollars just for college tuition seems ridiculous.

In order to increase the college readiness percentage, “staff at Joliet West continue to work to develop and deliver a rigorous curriculum in all content areas. In addition, staff have worked tirelessly to increase the number of students enrolling and being successful in Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment [Dual-Credit] courses,” says Dr. Gibson, principal.” Success in these courses translate to students demonstrating readiness for college level work while still in high school. In addition, College Board studies indicated that students enrolling in AP courses in high school are more likely to persist and complete college within 4 – 6 years.”

Every student at Joliet West should consider taking advantage of the ability to take AP and Dual-Credit classes. Although the AP test can be pricey, it is worth it because there are many opportunities for financial aid for college.

For all the students who are interested in financial aid; “Joliet West holds a financial aid workshop in January as a part of our Winter Parent/Student University”, explains Dr. Gibson.

Dr. Gibson’s one tip to any student aspiring to go to college and apply for financial aid is that “families must apply and submit their FASFA earlier to ensure that their student receives all the monies he/she qualifies for.”

President Obama recently gave a speech at the University of Buffalo where he addressed how he is planning to combat the rising cost of college. Photo Courtesy: Google Images