Talk to Teachers: One Teen’s View on College Costs

This letter was written by Jade Herbert, an eleventh grader who plans to attend college and then medical school. She is concurrently enrolled in a community college biology class, and previously interned at a hospital and a health clinic. She means business. She has sent this letter to several local newspapers. 

Dear Society,

Let’s begin by saying that we are living through a very tough time. Everyone in the world is aware of this. As being a person of color in the young generation, I often wonder how I’m going to get to college.  I want to go so bad but I’m “broke”. But, that’s not going to stop me from doing what I have to do to get there.

I want to go to college because I really want to be a neuro-surgeon, general surgeon, and or a emergency room doctor. They make a whole lot of money and I would be doing something I am passionate about. My mother is a registered nurse and I want to follow in her footsteps by going into the medical field. Also being a person of color, my ancestors didn’t have a chance to go to college. I feel it’s my duty to do what they wish they could do and make a life for myself. My only problem is that school is to expensive and once again I’m broke.

Any Historically Black Universities and any medical schools that I see in my future are going to be hard to get into because their tuitions are extremely high. For example,Stanford University’s tuition is $44,184 and the total annual cost is $61,648. How am I supposed to go to college? I don’t have that type of money. I know what you are thinking, she can get scholarships, financial aid, and loans. Before you assure me that it is going to be easy, I can get a scholarship, financial aid and loans. However, it takes time and effort for a good scholarship and to get a lot financial aid I need to have a low income. My mom is paid well as a nurse and if I apply for college they will give me financial aid but not a lot of it.  I feel that loans set people up for failure in the end because you have to pay a lot of it back. Matter of fact, people may not even have the money to pay the colleges back at the end of the day, because they may not even get a good job. The way the economy is today, rent is getting highigher and wage is low. Then what are you suppose to do? We need to figure out the best way possible to lower the cost of college and we need to do it fast.

In order for people to get to college, the government needs to lower college cost. The government needs to support people of color; they are apart of the future too. The government pushes the message of go to college but, what they don’t realize is that we don’t have the motivation to because we most likely won’t go. If we don’t go, we just fall into the stereotypes. As a society we need to pressure and persuade them to lower college costs. The government and university funders need to sponsor more full scholarships. If they don’t ,how do they expect me to want to be successful, not fall into stereotypes, and thrive when the whole system is very unfair? It’s unfair because the system is structured by white supremacy. White people can most likely go to college because they have the money and also historical privilege. However, if a white person doesn’t go, they are seen as taking a break. If a person of color doesn’t go, we are stereotyped. As a person of color you have to prove yourself more because of your race. What I’m trying to get at is that we want our young people of color to thrive, not fail and the best way they can is to create a system so that everyone can go to college no matter what.


Jade Herbert


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