To the Editor:
Attending college is a huge financial impact on many students and their family’s lives. Each year families with average incomes pay thousands of dollars in tuition and student loans in order to send their children to school. Western Michigan University’s out of state tuition is a pricey cost of about $38,000.
According to the New York Times, the average middle class income in the United States is approximately $58,054. Therefore, to send one child to Western Michigan University outside of Michigan would cost over 65% of a family’s income. My family happens to fall under this category, and being the eldest of five children along with being the first to attend college, this cost adds much financial stress to us.
For my first year alone my family has taken out around $40,000 in loans, and although I’m working towards in-state tuition, more loans will still need to be taken out and paid for in the following five years of school I must attend for my major. With tuition rates only rising, it will be tough for families like mine to pay for tuition for their other children. Work study is a need-based financial aid program where students can work for pay or towards their tuition funded by WMU and the Federal Government. Many students like me do not qualify for this program because of an average or high income, although certain factors aren’t looked at, one especially being what a family’s income is spent towards.
It is fair to say that students from families of the middle class should be granted work study, and denial from this aid is unacceptable. Students are sent to college for education purposes, not for stress on money issues. The eligibility for work study should be broadened and granted to more students with financial needs.
– Jane Littleton