America’s dream of equal opportunity is dead


Canela Lopez

Equal opportunity of getting into colleges and being able to afford them is not the same as it used to be. Credit:Claire Stockdill/The Foothill Dragon Press
Equal opportunity of getting into colleges and being able to afford them is not the same as it used to be. Credit:Claire Stockdill/The Foothill Dragon Press

Equal opportunity is a lie. The very idea that this country was based upon has disintegrated and all that remains are empty gestures of generosity and a decaying middle class. The founding fathers had a dream that any citizen of the United States of America could work their way to a higher social economic class. Now that dream is dying.

The core stepping stone to climbing the great wall of socio-economic classes is education. It has been for centuries. From the bourgeoisie of the French Revolution to the American politicians of today, education has been the road to victory for them all. However, as the economy falters and tuition and expectations rise, this road becomes more and more desolate.

College tuition has increased almost 200 percent since 2010 and it doesn’t look like it’ll be stopping anytime soon. The average cost of a UC school is about $22, 878 in tuition and fees alone. Though most students looking to reach for the top of the social pyramid, going to a UC (with the exception of UCLA and UC Berkeley) doesn’t even come close to cutting it. The average cost of an Ivy League College comes close to about $55,000 in tuition, fees and room and board. This is a monstrous fee that most people wouldn’t be able to pay. Despite the fact that colleges are willing to be considerably generous with their financial aid, many students don’t even make it through the application process.

With so many people applying to college, recruiters have had to lower their acceptance rate while raising their standards. 4.0 GPAs don’t make the cut anymore and even taking several AP classes can’t secure you a spot. There are a lot of factors that go into getting accepted into a top notch school, though one of the main ones is your high school GPA. All students hopefully strive to get 4.0s or higher, but many do not always achieve that goal. For some students the stakes are too high to not achieve a perfect GPA, because elite universities barely give a second glance to anyone below an A average. Though it is understandable why the requirements are so high, it doesn’t make it fair; especially for the lower class.

Lower class students rely solely on the grades to get into universities and receive merit scholarships, whereas those who belong to the upper class have a larger margin of error when it comes to applying to college because of their strong financial backing. They most likely work just as hard. However if a rich student receives a C in one class and a poor student receives a C in one class, the rich student will probably still be able to go to the university of their choice because of the fact that they can afford the ridiculous tuition fees. That is not equal opportunity.

Scholarships and financial aid are not cutting it. Geniuses with so much potential are losing their opportunities to get a leg up in the world because the so-called “equal opportunity” doesn’t apply to lower class members anymore. Financial aid should help more than just the bottom percent of the country and lower and middle class students are suffering.

How can the lower and middle class rise if only super students with 4.9 GPAs and rich trust funds can go to the prestigious college of their choice? What would the founding fathers say if they could see how mangled their dreams had become?

Equal opportunity is dying. It started dying the day modern education sided with the rich and privileged over the intelligent and poor. Maybe it never existed to begin with. 

What do you think?