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Not going to college was never an option for me growing up. When I was younger and would hear that someone only graduated from high school, I would wonder why on earth they had done this to themselves, silently judging them for not getting a higher education. However, as I’ve grown up, my perspective on college has altered. This change became very apparent to me as I began to visit colleges last spring break. As I traveled along the East Coast with my dad, I couldn’t help but fixate on the hefty price tag found at every school. At every information session or tour somebody would ask how much the yearly tuition was. During the first session at Princeton University, I jumped out of my seat as the Dean of Admissions casually answered $60,000. By the sixth school these high prices didn’t surprise me. However, these numbers seemed to become implanted in the back of my mind, and as I walked around each campus I would silently ask myself questions like “were those showers really clean enough to pay $60,000? If I’m going to be paying $44,000, couldn’t they make the food in the dining hall smell a bit nicer? Of course it was ridiculous to make these sorts of analogies. But how could I not, when each school came with a price like that?
As I realized how big of an issue college debt is for the majority of Americans, I wanted to learn more about other people’s experiences with college debt and their thoughts on it. To do this, I interviewed people on the streets of Oakland.