Paying the Price written by Sara Goldrick-Rab covers the topic of post-secondary school funding and how it affects the people. This piece addresses how the cost of college and universities keep rising which has a greater effect on everyday families. She argues that college should be free to everyone as there are so many greater benefits of getting that extra education but the barrier, which is the price, is keeping people away. College is heading to the point where it is unaffordable to the lower class and putting great pressure on those in the middle class because of how expensive it can be. It is essentially putting a price tag onto people’s lives because nowadays, most jobs will require a degree of some sort which no one is able to achieve without essentially “paying the price”. Goldrick-Rab addresses the topics of funding and how it is not always fair to people. She talks about how a lot of people leave college with “debt and no degree” and how everyone should be given a fair and equal chance to succeed at life and in their career without having to be limited because of how much they are able to pay. She says how education is important and something everyone deserves, so why not make it free? Presently, high school is something almost mandatory to finish, but many years ago it was not. It was an extra step in which only in the 1800’s they decided to make free because they felt people deserved the further step education. By making high school free, it invited a wide variety of people to go in and finish their schooling and get educated. They felt it was something very important and that everyone should have a chance at graduating. She then addresses how in today’s world, just a high school diploma is not enough. Most jobs require further education which not everyone can afford. For those who wish to attend, they are given funds in either the form of a grant or a loan, but the distribution process of it does not necessarily seem fair to everyone. Two people could work just as hard while only one walks away with a grant covering majority of their tuition. With loans, that sum accumulates greatly over time and leaves you with thousands in student debt by the time you earn your degree. She says that the “lack of financial resources is keeping students from succeeding”.
People who go into college using loans end up working so hard at their part time jobs just to pay off the school that they are struggling to find time for because of their work. Numerous people end up using all those student loans for funding their tuition only to drop out before they can graduate, leaving them with tons of debt but no degree. If tuition was free for colleges, those who struggle would not have to feel guilt upon themselves when dropping out because of how much money they have already invested into it. But nevertheless, there are still large amounts of people who drop out just because they cannot afford to be paying off debt any longer.
She introduces a statistic which states that “sixty percent of Americans aged twenty-five to sixty-four do not hold a college credential. But twenty-two percent of them … have tried to get one.” Which she then explains that it had to do with the money. Within the piece, Goldrick-Rab uses a lot of rhetoric to try and get us engaged and thinking about what she is actually saying. She touches on topics through pathos; she is trying to get the readers to think deep and really feel what she is saying by using a wide variety of examples. It is like she wants to get the readers to feel antagonized and provoke them into what she is trying to say, so they think to themselves what they would have done differently if college was free for them and if they would have potentially chosen a different path. The types of claims she uses throughout the piece are all examples of policy; the idea of something needing to change. In this case the something being tuition. She supports those claims through evidence and statistics. Goldrick-Rab also concedes just briefly that there are other ways of looking at this whole topic by saying how we cannot really consider private colleges and universities in this debacle as they are being funded trillions of dollars to have the best technology and resources; which means they cannot open their doors to just anyone. After addressing that point she then goes back to her main argument saying how though that may be the case there has to be a way to make the cost of attending more reasonable. This piece is highly persuasive in the sense that it really gets the reader thinking on their perspective of what Goldrick-Rab is saying. The evidence she uses, along with the statistics and hard facts she states really get you thinking. She refers a lot to how things used to be several years ago and how because of that, things are the way they are today; such as high school becoming a requirement.
Overall, the paper itself was well written. It covered numerous topics which varied quite a bit which never made the piece sound overly repetitive. What could have made this piece better would be including more relatable topics. The topic most of the readers, who have been or currently are in college, would relate to would have been the part where she talks about part time jobs. Students work endless hours a week at a job to make money to pay off their school, only to have their grades drop because of the little time being dedicated to their learning. By including more relatable topics it would have opened the readers minds more and got them to really feel what she was saying, not just think it.
All in all, this was a very detailed piece that has the potential to convince many people into believing that college prices are unnecessary and need to be removed to open up further education to everyone.