By Tess and Christina
College is the scourge of Upper School students, but even Middle School students, who are supposed to be free of this curse, find that college pressure is integrating itself slowly into their everyday thoughts. In addition to the pressure of college acceptance, students are starting to wonder if they need also worry about rising tuition prices.
“My parents talk to me about college at least once a week,” Remy ’14 said. “There are always little suggestions. They say ‘What’s it gonna be Remy? Oxford or Oxnard?’”
All students questioned said they had spoken with their parents about higher education, and most had spoken about the price that it bears. Some tuitions are approaching $50,000; in the past year alone, tuition at UC schools has risen about 8% as a result of budget cuts and the recession. And it’s not only public universities with reduced budgets: according to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, private college tuition is expected to rise 5% in the next year alone.
Remy said she is not surprised. “How can I be, when a high school asks for 30K a year, donations not included?”
However, Sonia ’14 said that she remains optimistic. “The raise in tuition does make me worry,” she said, “but I know I can apply for financial aid, which does take the burden off a bit.”
The School has been discussing college admissions with students and their families earlier and earlier; for example, College Night was extended to the 9th grade parents this year. According to Co-Director of College Counseling Monica DePriest, the School also plans to “incorporate financial planning for college for middle school parents.”
Some students question whether the School should allow younger students to join the discussion regarding the financial aspect of higher education as well.
“I think Marlborough should talk to seniors concerned about paying for college, but should avoid it at any younger grade level,” Paris ’14 said. “Marlborough students have enough stress regarding college as it is, and adding additional stress about tuition just isn’t necessary. We should be more worried about getting into the college of our choice.”
Sonia agrees. “Whatever Marlborough has been doing seems to be working, so there would be no need to talk to students about paying for college sooner,” she said.
However, others said they feel that the School should talk about finances early, so that students and families will be fully prepared for college applications.
“I think that Marlborough should talk about college to the parents earlier, to figure out [payment] methods if there is a problem,” Rula ’14 said.
Many middle school students said that they have already started thinking about how they will pay for college.
“I have three older siblings who all paid for their own tuition. It’s assumed that I will have to work for my own education as well,” Sonia said.
For Remy, however, it is expected that her classes will be her only focus.
“My parents said that as long as my education is involved, they’ll foot the bill, because they don’t want me to have to work a job that may distract me from my studies,” she said.
While students seem split about whether the discussion of college finances is right for middle schoolers, they all face the burden that these prices will bring.
“Knowledge is more and more valuable, and the purveyors of it know that,”Remy said. “So if it’s a good education you want, they’re going to make you pay through the teeth to get it. And that’s just the world we live in.”