March 2, 2015

Scrolling Headlines:

Trio of seniors shine in UMass women’s basketball’s Senior Day win -

Monday, March 2, 2015

ESPN employees seek to get women involved in technology -

Monday, March 2, 2015

UMass women’s lacrosse cruises to 11-3 win over Holy Cross Saturday -

Monday, March 2, 2015

New ‘research’ on moral dilemmas -

Monday, March 2, 2015

Twin River unveil infectious, exciting debut LP -

Monday, March 2, 2015

Big Sean reaches for the top with solid “Dark Sky Paradise” -

Monday, March 2, 2015

SGA hosts first annual Women’s Leadership Symposium -

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Weekly Dead with Jack and Alex – ‘Them’ and ‘The Distance’ -

Sunday, March 1, 2015

UMass to host free concert featuring Kesha, Juicy J to deter students from participating in ‘Blarney’ -

Sunday, March 1, 2015

UMass men’s lacrosse falls to 0-4 with Saturday’s defeat to Brown -

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Strong second half snaps three-game losing streak for UMass -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

‘UMass basketball’ returns in victory over Fordham -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

First quarter woes sink UMass men’s lacrosse in Grant Whiteway’s return -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

UMass hockey falls flat in regular season finale to UConn -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

UMass hockey stumbles offensively against UConn’s tough defensive corps -

Saturday, February 28, 2015

UMass seeks increased energy as it hosts Fordham -

Friday, February 27, 2015

Report: UMass continues search for new athletic director, DeFilippo not an option -

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UPDATE: Police to charge UMass football player with two counts of aggravated assault and battery -

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Students for Justice in Palestine, administration react to inflammatory posters -

Thursday, February 26, 2015

UMass falls short, lacks energy in 82-71 loss to Saint Joseph’s -

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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College students should fight back

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend about the reduction in hours at University Health Services, and at one point she said, “Well, we really shouldn’t complain, we’re still the lucky ones. Because we got to go to college, I mean.”

It was a throwaway comment, but it represented a view I’ve heard all too often – college students are lucky, college students are privileged, college students don’t know what it’s like in the “real world.”

Many students themselves believe it. But it is not true. It used to be true, decades ago, in our parents’ generation. For students in the 21st century, however, it is a myth. And it’s a myth that must be ended, because students who believe it are lulled into a false sense of security and at the same time discouraged from fighting for their rights.

There was a time when college was a gateway to a stable, well-paid professional career. Not anymore. Today it is a prerequisite for almost any career that pays a decent wage.

In 2007, 59 percent of all “prime-age workers” had a college education, and that figure is expected to rise to at least 63 percent in the six years, according to Georgetown University’s “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018.”

If we want to talk about new jobs available to young people, the proportion that requires college is even higher. Going to college is not a ticket to wealth or even to a middle-income lifestyle. It is something you need to do just to avoid being poor.

And even then, it might not work. You can go to college and end up in poverty anyway. In 2011, the unemployment rate for college graduates was the highest in history, according to BankruptingAmerica.org. In January 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were almost 2 million unemployed people with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.

Among recent graduates, the level of unemployment is truly staggering. Just over 22 percent of the class of 2009 did not have jobs in May 2011, according to The New York Times. That’s over one in five. And then there are the under-employed – college graduates who only manage to find part-time jobs, or who are employed in minimum wage jobs with no benefits. There are plenty of those, too.

Another 22 percent of the class of 2009 is working in jobs for which they are over-qualified, according to The New York Times. Many recent college graduates can only find jobs at restaurants, bars or gas stations. But don’t think that means going to college isn’t worth it, because college graduates are displacing those with less years of schooling. So what is increasingly happening is that college graduates get the menial jobs, and people who didn’t go to college get no jobs at all.

At the same time, college is more expensive than ever, and getting more expensive every year. The annual cost of attending a four-year college has grown three times faster than inflation since the 1970s, according to The New Yorker. The total college debt in America amounts to six hundred billion dollars, according to The New Yorker. An average student from the class of 2010 graduated with $25,250 in debt, according to NPR.

And this horrible state of affairs is relatively new. In 1970, it was possible to work 14 hours a week at a minimum wage job and earn enough money to pay for all college expenses, thus graduating with no debt, according to The Simple Dollar. Today, some people won’t finish paying off their student loans until their forties.

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

So the reality is that college students are saddled with enormous debt, often have to work while in school to pay tuition and fees, and might still face unemployment or a life of waiting tables after they graduate. The days when college students could be called privileged or carefree are long gone. Today, they are a group of people constantly being forced to pay more for less. Every year the cost of college goes up, and the prospects after graduation look bleaker. Public universities like the University of Massachusetts keep getting cuts in their state funding, because state politicians refuse to raise taxes on the super-rich (bailing them out is ok, though).

Many students refuse to get involved in politics because they believe what they are being told about belonging to the privileged few. But nothing could be further from the truth. Students have been under attack for several decades, and especially over the last few years, so a strong fight back is long overdue. The students in California who were the hardest hit, have already been fighting back for a couple of years. Now, Occupy Education and other movements have put out a call for a national day of action to defend education on March 1.

The Occupy group at UMass has answered that call and is planning a rally and speakout at 12 p.m. on March 1 on the steps of the Student Union, to be followed by a protest march. This action is directed against budget cuts, fee hikes, cuts in health care services, slashing of student jobs, ever-increasing student debt, police brutality and the myriad other ways in which our university is being privatized and students are being asked to pay for the crisis caused by the one percent.

I hope it will be the beginning of a long campaign to make the voices of students and faculty heard, to make it clear to the administration that we are among the 99 percent and we have had enough of paying more for less.

Mike Tudoreanu is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mtudorea@econs.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “College students should fight back”
  1. CJ says:

    Nothing really helps once your in student loan debt, especially private student loan debt, IMHO. Here are some okay tips: http://studentloansforcollege.org/studentloans/5-tips-to-help-with-private-student-loan-debt/

    however the best advice is do not take out private student loans in the first place.

    Cole

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