By Mayumi Herrera
Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) is known for its diverse student body, rigorous curriculum, and overall, competitive environment. With such a promising reputation, GHCHS never fails to remind its students of their worth and potential when encouraging them to pursue their goals for higher education and employment.
Often students see the reward for their efforts in high school as being acceptance letters from top colleges all around the nation. However, many students, including GHCHS’ outstanding achievers, have realized that these “brand-name” schools are not always worth financial stress and future debt.
After spending tireless hours on homework, studying, and fulfilling her duties as Associate Student Body (ASB) president, GHCHS alumni Noel Vargas rightfully deserved and achieved an overwhelming acceptance letter from Yale University during the 2016 spring semester.
“I visited Yale and fell in love with the gothic architecture of the buildings but my mistake was not checking how much the school costs after financial aid before falling in love,” Vargas said.
According to College Data, the highly ranked private research institution in New Haven, Connecticut, costs reach a staggering amount of $68,950 per year. That sum includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses. As a student, it is hard to truly understand the potential burden, both financial and emotional, behind this price tag.
Unfortunately, for most students cost plays a huge role in selecting where to attend after graduating high school. Growing concerns for job security, retirement plans, insurance, health care, and essential life necessities constantly emphasize the importance of wise and effective spending and saving. Students are also becoming more economically aware of the consequences of a loan and how it may affect them in the long run.
“In the end, I had to rule out Yale because it was so expensive. Everyone I spoke to while applying to college told me to avoid going into debt. It was hard for me as a student to understand at first but I came to realize how big of a deal it was and chose the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) instead,” Vargas explained.
While many people would scoff at Vargas’ decision to decline an Ivy League education for UCLA, one should always remember, the school he or she attends is not the only indicator of his or her future earnings. Students and their parents must take the time to explore their options and weigh the many different factors, such as location and type of institution, with an open mind. Picking out a college that best fits a student’s desires, needs, and standards is a big process, and cost should be one of the things they consider.
“Every school has amazing resources, you just have to choose to take advantage of them. College is college. No matter if it’s community college or Harvard University, as long as you pursue a higher education, you are investing in your future and should be proud,” Vargas said.