Students need ‘promise’

America’s College Promise will ease students’ use of an unsustainable student loan system.

When the housing market crashed nearly a decade ago, it was accompanied by one of America’s worst economic crises. If the higher education “bubble,” as financial experts and economists have titled educational market trends like increased loans and interest, also bursts, what sort of national disaster can we expect in 2015? Many Americans debate this issue, but there is no one the question could be more relevant to than college students.

It is ingrained in most young students that a high school diploma is not enough – an undergraduate degree, at the very least, is required for any sort of successful career. But according to College Board, from 1984-85 to 2014-15, the cost of public, four-year school tuition and fees has increased 225 percent. That’s 4 percent every year for the last 30 years. Whereas decades ago, when our parents attended college, most students could make do if they balanced a job and classes – not going into extraordinary debt – it seems nearly impossible for the average student to avoid taking out thousands of dollars in loans.

This system of perpetual borrowing and accruing interest is not sustainable. The housing market crash certainly proved this.

That’s why America’s College Promise is a suggestion that must take hold and become reality. According to The White House’s proposal fact sheet, providing community college students with two years free could save the average learner $3,800 per year. With increased grant availability as well, the next question of taxpayers, naturally, is: How will the federal government pay for two free years of community college for any American who wants to pursue higher education? But a college student might also, justly, ask: How can I even begin to consider more years of going deeper in debt?

It’s important to consider the diversity of opportunity that could arise from America’s College Promise. A subheading on The White House’s fact sheet, “Expanding Technical Training for Middle Class Jobs,” demonstrates this in it’s promise to increase “work-based learning opportunities.” Instead of an epidemic of over-qualified, under-paid workers, more graduates would be qualified for entry into fields like energy development, manufacturing and other trade fields – earning a living wage instead of the burden of expensive college loan debt.

Students need sustainable options. America needs to learn from its past mistakes. President Obama recognizes this need – to make America’s College Promise a reality, students should loudly express their need for an educational solution.

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