My Turn: An education in college affordability
I am a future teacher who was forced out of New Hampshire schools because college costs are just too expensive. I was also recently forced into the decision to change my career path because of the soaring cost of education, going from a dual major in mathematics and physics to a mathematics major with an astrophysics minor.
This is important to note because the Senate will be voting on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act soon. Passage of this bill will help support low-income, first-generation college students who are doing everything they can to build a better future for themselves and their families.
Last month, I traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with my legislators about college affordability. During my trip, I was able to meet with Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to share the story of my dream of becoming a teacher. Now, I would like to share that story with you.
I am the daughter of a low-income single father, who has struggled with cancer. With the high cost of health care and limited help from Medicaid coverage, we were faced with the reality that I might never be able to attend college. I have had to take out $35,000 in loans, thus far, and that does not include the money that my father borrowed on my behalf. By the time I graduate with my master’s degree, I will owe close to $100,000. This is not only insane, it’s not fair.
Every American deserves a fair shot at higher education – the only reliable ticket to achieving the American Dream.
A quality, affordable higher education should be accessible to all – regardless of your family background, and without accruing a lifetime of debt.
I urge Sen. Kelly Ayotte to support the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
(Alexis Ploss lives in Manchester.)