1. Tuition Costs
College-aspiring high school students all hope to attend the best colleges and universities to fulfill their goals and dreams. Unfortunately, going to college comes with a hefty price tag. Students have to figure out some way to scrap up enough money to pay for college. This means earning money through formal jobs and cash (or under-the-table) jobs, borrowing student loans from banks, winning scholarships and student grants and financial aid/assistance programs, or having a wealthy or well-connected relative. As tertiary education is not mandatory education for the general public, it is an optional choice for someone who has the money, the brains, and the drive to pursue an education and get a job. A college education will not guarantee a job; it merely provides the skills and knowledge for the job.
2. Personal Living Costs
If tuition costs seem overwhelming, then personal living costs would make college a bad investment for a low-income family. A high-income family may be able to send its grown-up children to college easily, as the family can probably afford better schools (due to more tax money collected from wealthy property landowners), tutoring services (outside the family or within the family), student participation in the arts and sports, and a good portion of the college price tag. High-achieving students from affluent neighborhoods are the most sought-after, desirable students, because they bring a good reputation and money to the school. Attracting this limited pool of students, however, is the real challenge for colleges. For an individual from an impoverished, working-class family, the odds are really stacking against him/her.
3. Some People Really Are Clueless And Unmotivated At 18 Years Of Age
At 17 to 19 years of age, young people graduate from high school and enter the adult world. They are socially recognized and treated as adults, even though their brains are not fully mature yet. In addition to a growing brain, young people struggle to find their place in life. Some young people know exactly what they want to do and how to get there; some young people know what they want to do but don't know how to get there; and some young people are completely clueless and unmotivated about themselves. If a young person from a high-income family is clueless and unmotivated, then he/she may be coached into applying to various universities, because a college education for a high-income family is expected. If a young person from a low-income family is clueless and unmotivated, then he/she may be expected to work full-time soon after graduation. Community college may be the only option for a higher education for these folks, if they want to promote themselves in the career ladder. Then, there are some people, primarily young men, who decide to enter the military. Serving the military can help pay for college tuition and build character and world experience in ways that private earnings can't.
4. Some People Are Low-Achievers
Some people are low-achievers. For a low-income family, a low-achieving student has no chance of getting into college. For a high-income family, a low-achieving student is corrected as soon as possible by adjusting education to fit the student's learning style, offering tutoring services, encouraging participation in the arts and sports; and colleges will look kindly at that because the low-achieving student becomes a high-achieving student, despite intellectual disabilities or maladjustments in standard schooling.
So, why go to college?
Going to college is something for the privileged class, and it has always been that way. The wealthy can send their children to college. The educated have the expectation of seeing their children in college. If they work in the university, then their children may receive a significant tuition discount, and if the university is local, then the student can just live at home, reducing living costs. The geniuses (scholastically accomplished) see college as the next step in their education and pursue a life of learning and scholarship. And lastly, the highly motivated and ambitious risk-takers see college as the gateway to better jobs and higher pay.