Response to the “Grads Facing Debt Crunch” article published in the Telegraph-Journal (June 22, 2010).
Of course, information about student financial aid programs should be clear and easy to access, however, knowing about those programs does not solve the real problems: that tuition fees are too high, interest on loans makes the repayment process much slower and more difficult, and most importantly, the government has been cutting funding to post-secondary education for decades.
We are told that going tens of thousands of dollars into debt to pay for their post-secondary education is a reasonable investment in our future, but with the alarmingly large increases to student debt this is no longer the case.
More and more people who graduate from a post secondary institution these days are ending up in minimum wage jobs and are faced with the reality that those ever increasing digits on their loan papers will haunt them for years or even decades to come. Seeing this happen to others has inevitably led people to leave halfway through a degree, so they can start chipping away at their debt sooner, or it has dissuaded many from even bothering to continue their education after high school. This is a shame, and I seriously doubt the reason so many people are struggling is that they don’t know or are not properly taking advantage of the programs available to help them.
An increasing number of jobs require a post-secondary education, however, many people are forced to choose between not going to university and facing a debt sentence. In a time when the economy and the people are struggling so much it does not make sense for the cost of education to be such a burden.
There is a world of knowledge out there which is beneficial and even essential in many ways for our society to grow and progress in a truly positive way, and yet it is becoming increasingly difficult to attain. Canada’s student debt has risen above the 13 billion mark, and at the same time there are less jobs that offer any kind of secure future. The fact that many people must make the decision to take on the burden of high student debt for the chance of making a better life for themselves and their families only adds to the already crippling inequality that plagues our society.