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Students Vs. Debt Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Higher Education: Students vs. Debt
Tuition rates in America are becoming more and more expensive and unaffordable for the average student. Universities keep raising rates every year, leaving students without a choice but to pay for the education they have already started. Financial aid offices give students a number when they are accepted to school, and this number indicates how much of your tuition tab the state will pick up. However, this number is subject to change every year, erasing all stability in a student’s expectations for post-grad debt. Not only are students graduating with enormous debt, the majority are either left without jobs, or working minimum wage jobs and barley able ...view middle of the document...

In my opinion, a four-year (or however long the program of study takes to complete) estimation of how much will be granted would be the best solution. This would help students better prepare for how much debt they will be stuck with after graduation. This will not lower the debt in any way, but when making the decision to attend college, it will help students decide if the price of admission is actually worth it. If a student believes the debt is too much to handle after graduation, and the job opportunities in that field are few to none, they may choose a different career path, or a more affordable school. “Now it's two months after graduation. I have an Ivy League master's degree, but I certainly don't feel $60,000 smarter. In fact, I feel a bit like I've snapped out of the piper's trance, only after stepping off the cliff” (O'Donnell 1). What O’Donnell is expressing her disappointment in the value of her ‘purchase’. She invested sixty thousand dollars in herself to improve her value as a potential employee, yet she doesn’t feel the gain in value was equivalent to the outlay of money, nor did it measure up to the sales pitch of a higher degree elevating her job prospects. Many students may rethink the opportunity cost of the debt that comes with a degree. They will be able to make a more financially responsible decision on higher education if they are presented with a full estimation of what their proposed degree will cost measured against what their earning potential will be upon graduation.
As if soaring tuition prices were not enough, the ailing economy and higher than ever unemployment rates are a slap in the face to students across the nation. The highest recorded national unemployment rate in the last fifty years is 9.71%, and the most recent number for today is 7.8% (United States Department of Labor Statistics). Although this number has come down in the past months, it is still extremely high, only a few points off the highest it’s been in the last fifty years. Receiving a diploma from a University used to be a golden ticket to a good job, a nice salary and stability for the rest of your life. Today, students are expected to earn the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, if not higher. Ivy league degrees can’t even guarantee you a secure future. The job market has become so competitive that students with Masters and Ph.D.’s can’t even find jobs. Approximately half of the 45,000 people who will graduate this year from ABA-accredited law schools will never find jobs as lawyers (Campos 1). All of this leads to a failing higher education system that allows students to accumulate thousands, and sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt, to acquire a degree that no longer lives up to the expectations of job, and financial security for the future. At some point, students need to disregard expert opinion, and rethink the current value of a college education for them personally, and whether or not it is actually worth the debt...

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