High cost of applying to college creates a cyclical battle in attaining the American dream

The unnecessarily high price of the college application process continues the cyclical oppression of underprivileged students. On average, students spend up to $100 simply applying to one school, an institution they may end up spending six figures to attend. In a family which struggles to finance day-to-day life for their child, paying to apply to college requires serious saving, exponentially lowering the chances that students from underprivileged families will apply for post secondary education. In the competitive climate of today’s work force, it is becoming the societal norm that people not only obtain a four year degree, but also a professional degree. Students who lack not only a professional degree but a four year degree as well, are unlikely to find a financially stable career.
According to a 2011 U.S. News study, a quarter of college freshmen applied to seven schools. Taking into account the cost of sending standardized test scores, high school transcripts and the application fees it would not be unusual for students to spend upwards of $700 on applications. A high school student who works a minimum wage job ($7.25 per hour), ten hours a week, every week out of the year, will make $3,770, excluding taxes and assuming the student must not contribute to daily living costs.
Application fee waivers provide little relief for students who are unable to afford applications. In order to apply for a fee waiver, every college requires an additional application to determine eligibility for the fee waiver, therefore taking more time from a student who already has to apply to school, complete senior year studies, and is likely employed.
Unable to afford simply applying to the school, many underprivileged students find that attending college is not realistic from the start. In a 2011 study conducted by the Los Angeles Times, college graduates made 84 percent more money than individuals without a college degree. Without a college degree, individuals will likely not obtain a solid career.
Applying to college is only the beginning of the unnecessarily exorbitant process towards a career. The price of applying makes it exponentially less likely a student from a low income family will apply, continuing the cycle of poverty. Basic supply and demand determine the scarcity of an application fee, and many schools have gotten rid of them. Students are encouraged to boycott the schools that require $90 just to be considered for acceptance, or write letters to their legislatures on lowering the price. Overall education needs to be made accessible for all students, and application fees need to come to an end. Personal action is the best way to do that.