by A. Akin

I recently received a letter from Tulane University (a school to which I had applied for both acceptance and scholarship earlier in the year and to which I was willing to give at least some relatively useless body part or appendage in return for both of those things) informing me that I would sadly not be receiving the Dean's Scholarship (that's the one that pays for everything, almost $25,000 per year) upon my entry into Tulane University.

The letter did say, however, that the scholarship committee did find my high school performance impressive and that I might be in contention for some scholarships of lesser value. The date in the top right corner of the letter was February 15, my birthday. Great.

Now a scholarship of lesser value might do for someone else, but just between me and you and that $100,000 education, anything less than full paid is probably not going to do.

So why, in a country that prides itself on its attempt to provide education to everyone from every walk of life, is getting a good education in a facility of "higher learning" so financially unattainable to so many eager and capable individuals?

But Tulane is a private school and will obviously be far more expensive than any state school, you might be thinking. This is true. State tuitions however, are steadily on the rise and are easily out of range for some families with financial difficulties. And that's just if you live in that particular state. Out-of-state tuitions can sometimes be close to double the original amount. And for what purpose?

"We need to keep Tennesseans in Tennessee," I've heard from some. And still others claim, "it's because we need to tend to our own before we start worrying about anybody else."

Are we not all part of the same country, and are we not all ultimately seeking the same goal in pursuing a higher education? I think we are. Oh, I realize that some might not have the their state's or country's or world's best interests at hearts when they joyfully bid their days of nightly homework and thirty minute lunch breaks adieu, but I think that's only to be expected, and in small numbers at that.

The point is that education is not a privilege only to be obtained by those with super IQ's or super wallets. It's our right if we really want to make a difference in the world, that is.

Maybe there will always be someone who can run faster and jump farther than you and I can. I don't know. But what I do know is that even if we're not always the best, and even if we're not the smartest or the richest or the most beautiful, there should at least be one thing that everyone who really cares about the world can experience. And that's education.

But only if the price is right, I guess.

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