College: job security, not financial security

James Vaughn

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In order to survive today’s struggling economy it’s almost a necessity to pursue higher education. Obtaining a college degree does not promise you a job, but it does offer you a better chance at job security.

However, financial security in any career is beginning to seem like a long shot.

According to the Evansville Courier and Press, roughly 6,000 students at USI depend on federal Stafford loans to pay for college. All of the recipients are aware that they must start making payments 6 months after they graduate.

 

Unless recipients read the fine print, they may be unaware that some of those loans accrue interest over time. Currently, the interest rate for federal loans sits at 3.4 percent, but by next year that rate may double unless Congress acts against the proposed increase.  

We live in a time when even college grads are struggling to find work, so why would anyone decide against some form of higher education? If the government’s ultimate goal is to secure the future of America, then they shouldn’t be creating a fear toward post-secondary education.

Persuading society to attend college is going to become more difficult with an increase in interest rates. If Congress decides to do it, it’s going to have an even bigger impact on the distant future.

Graduates will begin to realize that they’re broke, even though they hold a degree and a career. Once we realize that college put us in more debt than we’d be in if we hadn’t gone to college, it will change our entire perspective on higher education. Instead of convincing our children to get a degree, we might start swaying them away from it.

I often think about the future, and I’ve found myself hesitating to pursue majors like English or journalism because of the job market and the salaries in those areas.

I’m worried that even though I’d spend every day doing something that would make me happy, would I really be happy? As much as some people try to deny it, money is an important factor in true happiness. Putting satisfaction aside, I’ve considered dentistry and picked up a minor in public relations out of fear.

Now, if the increase takes effect, I’ll be a lot more hesitant about what I decide to do. College should be a time when we’re living for the moment, experiencing new things, having fun and focusing on how much knowledge we’re gaining rather than worrying about making our way in the economic system once we’re out of this safe haven.

I feel that a lot of students ignore the facts simply because they don’t have to worry about it right now. This is a serious issue that may become more serious if the rates are increased. I question the American dream. Is it really the pursuit of happiness anymore? It seems to me that it’s becoming the pursuit of survival.

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