Sunday, December 10, 2006
College Graduates Enter Workforce In Debt
New college graduates face more debt than ever. The average graduating senior now owes $19,200 in student loans, up from $9,250 a decade. Even adjusting for inflation, this represents a 58 percent increase in just ten years. College tuition itself has risen 35 percent in just five years - again, adjusting for inflation. Federal aid for college students has not kept pace with the growth in the number of students. As a result, less aid is available, causing students to borrow money from private sources, which presumably includes loan sharks and the like. Private borrowing of this sort increased 30 percent between 2004 and 2005 alone.
Three out of four full-time students are already in the workforce before they graduate from college. They need to be, just to pay their bills, regardless of its effect on their studies. Many say they must indefinitely delay - or forego altogether - marriage and raising a family to pay off their debts, and most are forced to choose jobs in business over less lucrative career paths in fields such as teaching. College graduates are channeled by necessity into entry level jobs in the corporate world (if they can find them) - just as corporate leadership is decimating the ranks of its white collar employees and suppressing their salaries to pay swollen sums to its chief executives.
The Democrats have promised to make college more affordable by cutting interest rates, increasing federal grants and enhancing the tax deductibility of tuition. It remains to be seen whether or not they can fulfill these promises.
The article at the link below suggests that, if survival in today's economy requires a college education, shouldn't there be some way to provide it free to our citizens, just like high school? Some claim that viable Internet universities can be established for just a few million dollars. Isn't it time we applied to the education of our people the same technological innovations that our popular culture and the business world have already been able to exploit?
"Today's Indentured Graduates" from the Christian Science Monitor