College: Is it really worth it?
From a very young age, we are indoctrinated into the belief that in order to become successful, one must do well in grade school, specifically so that one can advance onward to college. But what is so great about college? It is the enormous amount of debt that a large majority of people seem to acquire? Of course not, but according to the American Student Assistance organization nearly 60% of American students go into debt in some way, shape, or form. (1) Considering that over half of the student body is willing to go into financial hardship so that they can obtain a college degree, there must be some sort of recipe to success that comes with it.
Why do we go to college in the first place? For starters, with it comes the ability to do specific careers that cannot be obtained through any other mean, besides college itself. Some of these jobs include things such as a doctor, lawyer, or other high-paying opportunities. These careers often offer a security blanket of a stable salary, along with other great benefits. However, not all college jobs are as secure as others and there are some who do not even receive a job after graduation from their chosen university.
That being said, why do people take the risk with their financial life and join a university when they are not always guaranteed a job after they have received their degree? According to a recent study done by the Huffington Post, nearly half of recently graduated college students are not able to find full-time jobs. There are examples everywhere of this growing dilemma take Serena Whitecotten, a recent graduate from the California State University where she majored in communications but has yet to find a single job even after a countless number of job interviews. She was quoted saying, “I was just embarrassed,” she continued on, “The worst thing is having to explain why I’m in Burbank and why I don’t have a job and why I’m at the bank at 1 in the afternoon.” (2) One of the problems with this story is not just this story, it’s so many other stories almost identical to it and the worst part is it is growing more by the day. The shortage of jobs seems to be rising everywhere and the pool of opportunity is shrinking.
So why do we have to pay such astronomically large tuitions prices when in high school it was virtually free? Originally, students did not have to pay near as much, the state helped cover the cost of tuition according to the New York Times, lately an overwhelming majority of students have had no choice but to pay for somewhere around half of their tuition, with no real guarantee that they will ever find a full-time job. In order for the state to even pay half of a student’s tuition, taxes, along with other ways, are being forced upon the citizens, but that in turn, makes it harder for those who do not have a steady salary and cannot afford higher taxation.(3)
This complex college webbing has been causing problems in numerous spots. The way this works, for example, is you have a student, who does average academically in high school and does not participate in sporting events or extracurricular activities, and does not apply for any sort of scholarship but receives a small portion of financial aid from the government. He then graduates from high school and moves onto college, where he spends 4 years accumulating debt even after the help from the government. After he graduates from college, he then cannot find a job anywhere because hiring more employees is becoming more limited as the state of the economy declines. He then is left with multiple student loans and no way of earning the money to pay them off, on top of that, you must put into consideration that he has the cost of everyday expenses and his price of living, that is assuming he is not still living with his parents, continuing from that, he also has to worry about the large taxation from the state government to help pay for students just like him. Meanwhile, his debt continues to build up, day after day, and he has no choice but to take out another loan.
As you can see, debt is something very common for students alike so what is being done in order to stop this growing trend? President Obama was quoted saying, “in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.” So what is our government doing in order to cut down the price of student loans? In an official response to the Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy and Usher in a New Era of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Prosperity program, the White House wrote saying, “We agree that reducing the burden of student loans is an effective way to stimulate the economy and save tax payer dollars..”(4)
With that response, the White House mentioned things that had been put in place to help cut down the general cost for students and tax payers nationwide, such as the ability to consolidate their loans from the Direct Loan and the Federal Family Education Loan, and the Income Based Repayment Policy, both of which have helped but neither have fixed the problem with higher education. (4)
The positive standpoint is that the government is aware of the problem and are taking steps in order to keep America a competitive nation, the response from the White House summarized it very well when they said, “If we want to remain competitive as a nation, we must continue to create ways for all Americans to afford higher education…And by continuing to raise your voices and call for change, you will help to open the doors of higher education to all Americans.”(4) The college debt issue is not just an academic schooling problem, it is a problem for the entire economic system that has been slowly creeping its way through the wallets of every tax payer in the country.
(1)-“Student Loan Debt Statistics.” – American Student Assistance. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2014.
(2)-Kavoussi, Bonnie. “Half Of Recent College Graduates Lack Full-Time Job, Study Says.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 May 2012. Web. 07 May 2014.
(3)- “.” . N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2014. <http://www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial2/coll_aascu_povcohen.html>.
(4)- “Taking Action to Reduce the Burden of Student Loan Debt.” We the People: Your Voice in Our Government. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 May 2014. <https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/taking-action-reduce-burden-student-loan-debt>.