You can now shut up any relative that calls millennials lazy for wanting cheaper higher education, and keeps claiming that they “worked my ass off at a minimum wage job for four years and paid for it all myself!” A new study finds that you can’t work your way through college at a minimum wage job, even for state schools. Students’ families are now faced with a bigger percentage of the burden than ever before.

While Connecticut came in 21st in the state for college affordability, the nation as a whole is having an issue with college affordability. Students and their families are paying more and more for a college education because of the decrease in state funding towards education. 30 years ago, in-state tuition for UConn was around $5,000 per year, where the college got just under 50% of its funding from the state. In 2016, with a 30% hike expected in tuition in the next four years, it will be around $27,000 a year. The percent of family income devoted to college has gone up in Connecticut, except for at Yale University.

Connecticut has some of the lowest-costing community colleges, however, with Housatonic Community College boasting a $4052/year tuition rate, among the lowest in the country. Many students are now turning to 2-year degrees at a community college to save big bucks. In fact, need-based financial aid has gone down with new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) regulations, where Connecticut gives an average of just $209 per student, as opposed to the national average of $474 per student.

With a college degree becoming a growing necessity, college affordability is standing in the way of so many peoples’ dreams. It is at the forefront of every student’s mind, and the nagging question of “how will I pay for college?” and “how am I going to pay off all this debt?” is a daunting task that we shouldn’t have to make students ask themselves. Investing in education is investing in the future, and these kids can’t be focused on changing the world when they have $30,000 in debt to worry about.

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