As a student attending the University of Maine at Augusta, I have enjoyed a relatively cost-effective college education. However, I am preparing to transfer to another state university that offers the bachelor’s degree I require for my future career. Here in lies the dilemma that millions of Americans face, as college tuition rates continue to rise across the country.

The financial aid package (the majority of which is in the form of unsubsidized loans) that the government offers often does not cover the modern cost of a four-year college education. We also see an increasing number of students complete their bachelor’s degree in five years as opposed to four. Additionally, these financial packages come with punitive fees for missed payments and a debt burden that will follow students until they are well into their middle age.

In comparison to the rest of the western world, this is a dreadful state of affairs.

I was raised by a single mother who dedicates her life to the field of education, a career infamous for its lack of financial compensation. I have pursued scholarships, grants and work study positions, all in attempts to assuage my mounting debts. The University of Maine System has successfully kept tuition rates frozen for years now, however, the struggle to receive adequate subsidization from the state continues.

Maine is one of the oldest states in the union on average, as our young adults have consistently fled the state like rats from a sinking ship. Our representatives continue to desperately cling to the purse strings, denying funding to the fundamental agent of societal success, education. It is our responsibility to offer ample education opportunities to our children and young adults, so Maine can continue to compete economically as the demand for skilled workers increases.

Matthew Raymond


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