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Letter: Our future

Around this time, my other classmates and I have to start thinking about our futures. A large part of this future planning has to do with colleges and how exactly we and our families will be able to afford college, which we are told is a necessity for a successful life.

In Franklin County, the estimated median household income in 2009 was $49,050 and an average college budget for an in-state public college this school year was $22,261. So it is expected that an average family will spend almost half of their yearly income paying for their child’s schooling. And that is for a two-parent household, funding one child’s college education. To think about those living in poverty (10.1 percent of Massachusetts households) who already struggle to make ends meet, the dream of sending their children to college to better them in their lives is unattainable. With the minimum wage at $8 in Massachusetts, most Franklin County families are working hard to reach a level of financial stability that will support them and their children for years to come. Although high school students often want to go to college, to get out into the world and jump-start their lives, often they can’t and instead have to start working straight out of high school to do their part in paying their family’s bills and supporting them. Working low-wage jobs for the rest of their lives is not something that is generally respected by society, nor a stepping stone in achieving success.

If Massachusetts wants to assist its students in living successful lives, I suggest it starts looking at the price of education and the low wages we are expected to live on while providing our children with adequate schooling to set them up for success.

MAGGIE TIRRELL

Four Rivers Charter Public School

Greenfield

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