Making College more Affordable and the American Dream

By Josh Hoch, high school senior

Senior Year. College is a bright beacon on the horizon. An opportunity to expand my skills while pursuing a higher level of knowledge. College is an institutional helper to achieving the American Dream. The dream illustrated as an idealized economic, political, and social state in which everyone has the freedom and opportunity to succeed. But looming in the distance on the other side of college is a dark cloud of student debt. A hinderance to the success I hope to see as a product of my higher learning.

As a high school senior looking at schools, I am fortunate enough to have parents capable of contributing to a portion of my college tuition. They sacrificed and toiled for a long time just to make this possible.The United States is home to world-class educational institutions capable of preparing me for a successful career. However, tuition costs at these higher level universities have skyrocketed in recent years. When I graduate college in four years I will be facing just a small hill of debt. To be honest the problem of college costs were not even a prominent thought in my mind…until I witnessed the direct ramifications and consequences.

College tuition costs are rising.

A very close friend of mine had his eager eyes set on one goal as a teen. Get into the prestigious Duke University. He worked harder and smarter than anyone I have ever seen. His GPA and test scores made his efforts clear and obvious. He was an outstanding student and person. When the time came he applied to his dream school and eagerly waited in an awful yet optimistic state of suspense. I was there on the response date when he checked his email. He said nothing for a few moments. Then, in a muffled choppy voice he mumbled, “I’m going to Duke.” Without a moment’s hesitation he called his mom. As the phone rang his tears fell. “Mom I’m going to Duke.” I could hear the static rippled cries of joy coming from the other end of the line. This moment touched me forever — but the moment that sparked a fire in my heart happened a few short weeks later. The expression on his face divulged an obvious grief. “I can’t go…I can’t go to Duke.” The details would soon emerge that his family couldn’t afford the high tuition cost. The debt after he graduated would be unmanageable. I will never forget the look on his face. That look, which is forever engraved in my heart has caused in ideological shift inside of me.

There are countess stories like my friend’s. Bright, hard working students with a vision robbed from them. Believers in the idea that with that hard work, they could achieve virtually anything. Predisposition and elements out of one’s control should not inhibit their ability to progress in life. The dream to achieve and mold a life dictated by liberty and the pursuit happiness is the American dream.

It is essential to the youth of America that this idealized dream is restored and made fundamental in American life and politics. It is critical we as citizens support politicians who work to create opportunities for all Americans, no matter where they are from. Scott Peters has fought through gridlocked Washington to make college more affordable and reduce the burden of student debt. As a prospective college student, I respect and support his efforts. As an informed citizen, I advocate for Scott Peters in his re-election campaign. I urge the people of San Diego to vote for Scott Peters and I urge the American people to vote for representatives who show similar ideological interests. The revival of the American Dream starts with us, the American people.