Dear President Obama (and the US government),
As a post-grad living in America, I wonder when this shift occurred within our system of higher education that changed earning a degree and an education into a game of economics. When did a solid education to prepare you for your future and a stable career give way to name-brand college marketing?
I ask, how are we, the youth of America, supposed to bring about change and innovation for our great nation if we are slaves to our student loans and exorbitant college costs? You, Mr. President, recently spoke about bringing innovation and scientific output back to America to combat the global competitiveness in this field. But how are we to do that when our college tuition continues to rise, yet the value of our Bachelor's Degrees lower over time?
When did the rite of passage for high school graduates signing one's name onto a freshman year college loan become the norm? Why aren't words like "subsidized loan," "loan forbearance," "consolidation," and "borrower accountability" taught on the SAT? Seems as though these words are tremendously more common and usable in post-high school life than "amiable" or "noxious."
How is America supposed to move our people out of poverty when the average college graduate leaves school with thousands of dollars in student loans? How are young Americans supposed to reasonably survive in America as post-grads when most of us are paying $1000-2000 each month to our student loans? How are we supposed to save up, purchase a house, and invest in bettering our nation when we can barely stand on our own two feet because the "college dream" we aspired has left us in debt? Instead of creating a stable workforce for the future, we are crippling those who stand to become the future of our country.
And where to begin on the high interests rates that are fixed onto our loans. When did it become standard practice that a college loan would be paid back in payment installments over a twenty year period, in which the borrower will pay back nearly THREE TIMES the amount of the original principal due to incurred interest? Why must young Americans need to pay back loans that amount to nearly one to two years of working wages while living in a country with a shit-economy and ever-rising costs of living?
And what of the risks of being a post-grad? Forget the chances of finding a job or career, what about the future of our credit and borrowing abilities that can be easily hampered by missing a loan payment or being delinquent on a student loan?
Jobs will come and go; retirement will produce job openings and sector growth will produce access to new jobs across the board, but the widening gap in our higher education will only become more problematic. Over time, obtaining a Bachelor's Degree will be akin to receiving your high school diploma - only $50,000-150,000 times more expensive - and the need for further post-grad education will become (already is becoming) the norm. Living with your parents until you're thirty will also become the norm, since post-grads will be so busy working solely to pay off student loans that trying afford rent or saving for future mortgage payments will be out of the question.
I myself do not have terrible amounts of student loans to pay off, but just thinking about how my future finance plans have to account for thousands of dollars owed simply for pursuing an education disgusts me. It disgusts me because it doesn't have to be like this - and in fact, it's not like this in other equally-prosperous nations! And it disgusts me because one self-guided missile used in the "war on terror" could have adequately paid for my whole college education.
Think about that.
"Disenchanted Post-Grad American"