I talk to a lot of young people in my position as Director of Purdue Polytechnic New Albany and one of the biggest concerns students and recent graduates have is the cost of their education and how they’re going to afford the loans they took out to go to school.
Mind you, these are good responsible young adults. They don’t like the debt they’re incurring and it worries them quite a bit. But college has just become too expensive for them and their families without taking out a loan. They see no other way to get to the career they want and they’re probably correct. That’s unfortunate.
You could rightly say it’s a national crisis. According to the Federal Reserve, there’a well over a trillion dollars in student loan debt today. That’s a crippling number for those individuals starting out in the workforce and their adult life.
I believe an educated society will always be the basis of a solid economy and future. So I’m happy that we live in a country that allows so many to pursue higher education. But we need to look fast and hard at ways to bring down the financial burden that incoming and outcoming students and families face.
Here are few areas and ways I believe we could alleviate the debt and cost burden.
- I believe repayment by a student, for a time period, should be based on the income of that student after they graduate.
- Instead of looking towards the government to continue to pour money into a system that continues to increase government and student debt – let’s look to the private sector to invest in programs that offer scholarships or loans in return for service or other forms of reimbursement after graduation.
- College may not be for everyone. But everyone should be able to seek an education that will help attain a suitable job – increasing the availability and affordability of career and vocational education is key. A person should be able to attain the occupation of their dreams without the debt that will strangle those dreams.
- Students and families need to have a better understanding of what they are getting or not getting from their investment in higher education. Statistics on starting salaries based on occupation and major, as well as monthly student loan repayment and cost of living should be conveyed to a person before they commit to a college or similar education.
As an Indiana Senator, I’ll look at these and other ways to promote education while bringing down personal and government debt. As a country we must make it one of our priorities.
All the best,