THE SANTA CLARA
January 14th, 2016
If you’ve been paying attention to the news recently, you probably noticed the pressure building on politicians to tackle the rising student debt crisis in The United States.
Through organizations like the “Million Student March” students have been demanding tuition-free public college and calling for student debt to be forgiven.
Now, it’s pretty obvious to anyone with a shred of common sense that both of these ideas are flawed. Making college tuition-free would blow an even larger hole in our national budget while simultaneously messing with the dynamics of in-state versus out-of-state tuition.
Cancelling all student debt without any sort of payout to creditors would result in an economic catastrophe; creditors who were banking on receiving interest payments would suddenly be informed that instead they would, in fact, be getting nothing at all.
Yet, these activists do have somewhat of a general point. There is certainly something wrong with higher education in America– students should not obtain as much debt as they do upon graduating. But, unlike many others, I blame individual students for their debt.
In this day and age, young people have come to think that attending college is a right as indespensible as the rights to free speech and a fair trial. Because of this, they act like they should be allowed to attend any school for any major completely free.
But the fact of the matter is that if you, as an American, choose to enter college and graduate with a degree in a liberal arts field such as drama or English (that will virtually guarantee you a low salary), then you have to accept the fact that you will be straddled with student debt.
If you have the option of attending your local state school and saving money, or attending an expensive private school, and you choose the private school, then you will have to live with the consequences.
By demanding that college be free, and by demanding all college debt be absolved, you are saying that you made terrible decisions early in life, and that it is society’s obligation to bail you out. It is an abdication of personal responsibility on an enormous scale, and it is morally contemptible.
So here’s a quick guide to making sure you graduate with manageable student debt. First off, choose a college with affordable tuition. I will have no sympathy for you when you complain about your student debt.
Next, choose a major that will provide a return on your investment. For example, I love history and it has always been my favorite subject all throughout my life. But I know that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make me a sufficient amount of money.
So, I chose to be a business major, because I know that at the end of the day, it will provide for me and I won’t ever be stuck with the fact that I can’t get a job that pays the bills because I chose a bad major in college.
But I also know that this is a free country, and people are free to do as they please.
If someone wants to fork over $60k a year for school and fund it all using student loans, then that’s the student’s choice.
If they’d like to have their major in Feminist Dance Theory and fund it off student loans, then that’s their choice. But if you make those choices then they are your responsibility, and you alone are responsible for your student debt.
Andy Hudlow is a freshman business major.