Loans for the holidays


Illustration by Adriana Macias Photo credit: Adriana Macias

As students begin to head home for the holidays to spend time with family, they are most likely going to be bombarded with the same questions as every year.

They are asked about school, significant others, social lives, post-graduation plans and finances covering everything in and out of college.

Now, college students today are criticized for being lazy, unappreciative and unwise with their money. Many older people, especially, have begun chastising the idea that students are supporting proposals for free college tuition.

They tend to argue that their own generation was able to work through school and pay for everything themselves without having to take out any students loans.

This criticism is not taking into account the fact that college tuition now is significantly more than it was 30, and even 20 years ago.

According to ThinkProgress, tuition for a four-year public institution has nearly tripled from 1980 to 2011. The national average for tuition in 1980 was just $2,100. In addition to the rising cost, Pell Grant covers even less of the overall cost.

The inflation of not only tuition, but the cost of living in general, leaves students in a bind, no matter how much they work on the side. It is very difficult to be able to pay for tuition, rent, groceries and any other expenses without the help of loans and financial aid.

Loans are nearly inevitable for any college student, and reaching graduation debt-free is a fairly big accomplishment.

Having free college tuition would enable so many more students to receive an education without drowning in debt once they cross the finish line to graduation.

In order to make a decent living and pay for all the bills necessary for adult life, it is almost necessary to have a college degree. Bachelor’s degrees are now required by almost every job that can actually sustain the rising cost of living.

Graduating from college seems to be reaching the equivalent of a high school diploma these days, and massive amounts of debt for the sake of education and a piece of paper is not.

I ask older generations, then, can you blame college students for not wanting to be in debt for the rest of their lives for the sake of education?

Katelyn Martin can be reached at [email protected] or @katelynmmartin_ on Twitter.