Money, bills, tuition make being an adult hard

Sept. 14, 2015

Audrey Jensen
ajensen4@uccs.edu

20 years from now I will be telling my kids, “Back in my day, gas was only three dollars a gallon!”

How I will long for those days to come back.

It seems to be the conversation of my generation; why is the cost of living so high and being an adult more difficult than when my parents were young?

In order to pay bills, eat and drive I attempt to work two part-time jobs while going to school full time, similar to many UCCS students.

The economy will always fluctuate, but it shouldn’t be as hard as it is to make a living, especially for those raising families. I am lucky to only have to pay for myself.

Based on a Denver Post article from August 2014, the cost of living in metro Denver has increased 13.6 percent since 2009.

“Weekly wages have not kept up with inflation, said Ernie Goss, a research economist for Applied Information Management in Denver. He thinks home and rent prices will continue to climb, but he said he sees some relief for the pocketbook pain on the horizon as demand for workers outstrips supply.”

But Goss also believes many of the new jobs created in Colorado are at the lower end of the pay spectrum.

Although minimum wage has increased in different parts of the country, the cost of living continues to climb.

To one day provide for more than one person, I’ve decided to attain my degree. Without it, I will not be taken seriously as a woman in the workforce and it will take me longer to reach a pay raise than with a job I could have with a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

If you take into account everything a college student has to pay for without financial aid from family or school, the cost is unsustainable.

If you want to drive, you need pay for a decent vehicle but you must have car insurance and be able to maintain the car itself. You need to buy food every week. You have to pay for health insurance, rent, utilities, trash and internet.

If you’re not on a family phone plan and need a cell phone, this can be a significant cost. For school, books and supplies need to be purchased on top of tuition, and depending on if a student is out-of-state or in-state, the cost can change significantly.

With all of these taken into account, the amount I pay for the first month of the fall semester, including tuition, is around $6,000. This may seem decent, but for the single person who has to pay it off with financial aid and work wages, that number is intimidating.

I know the start of my adult life is not going to be easy. I know I have the resources I need and am grateful that I have been provided with them, but there are many students who are not so lucky.

I have met several former students who can longer attend UCCS, because their parents make too much money for them to receive enough financial aid, but the money their parents make isn’t enough to pay for their family and the student’s tuition.

I hope my kids can enjoy college without the stress.