The school year, now in full swing, has made many of us question “why am I here again?” The all-too popular answer of “amassing more wealth” is nearing falsehood. Recent statistics have hovered just above 50% for students completing a bachelor’s degree within 6 years; here at Millersville we stand at 64.8%. The argument of drop-outs simply being indolent students is fading quickly. College continues to be less economical, especially if your primary goal is increasing future wealth, for many. Simply not attending post-secondary school is even more dangerous, leaving us as students confused. The government’s consistent failures and political gridlock over student debt leave us in the middle. Worst of all, the vast majority of government’s attempts at solving the issue are impractical.
Millersville is thankfully less costly, in comparison to the astronomical rates our peers at private colleges pay. College tuition and housing costs, for years now, have outpaced inflation by a multiple. Although financial aid packages continue to grow, allowing us to stay, it’s hard not to fear the day we must begin to repay. In a situation in which a student graduates after four years they can easily reach a debt level of $50,000. Many are stuck paying loans of $500, and sometimes more, a month; all this during the time our financial futures are most dependent.
Studies have proven that a large portion of young Americans are delaying a house purchase solely because of financial complications. The delay of purchasing homes places graduates in an inauspicious financial position that could destroy a retirement, as well as equity to use in future loans. Fewer and fewer students are willing to take financial risks, like a business loan, to start their own businesses. With innovation already lacking in the United States, we are skating on thin ice.
We must accept that solely blaming college debt is much too rudimentary. The economy is relentless for us students, and is why we have seen so many more drop outs. The financial issues at home are, in aggregate, darker than any other generation’s since the Great Depression. This has put many into situations where they must take time off from school, to work full-time, in an attempt to raise money to go back. Even more alarming are the students that must leave to keep their families’ finances above water. Most loans mandate six months after full time status ends, debt repayment must begin, in this situation, for an educational loan that led to no diploma/certificate.
The Student Debt Crisis is coming to a breaking point; a point at which the government must do something if it cares about anyone other than the rich. The Obama Administration’s elimination of banks’ involvement, in the student loan business, has failed; Obama failed to see higher education has no problem taking advantage of his policy change. College administrators, knowing demand for a college education is quite inelastic, will take advantage until stopped. Furthermore, we must push for a system that does not punish us for enriching ourselves, but rewards us for our commitment. Both state and federal governments’ consistent threats to our futures are unacceptable. The government must understand their small impracticable solutions will not work. Making college affordable is not a quick fix; it will require a complete overall from the ground up, one I believe government is unable to solve.