Shrinking incomes, shrinking opportunities

DKS Editors

We’ve all heard it. Some of us have probably felt it: Inflation is on the rise. While college students are trying to cut back on expenses, they’re not the only ones cutting corners.

As tuition prices continue to grow nationwide, financial aid options struggle to keep up and students are finding it more difficult to keep up. While President Obama recently introduced the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, it may not be enough for today’s student.

Of course, once we graduate, our loans will be capped at 10 percent of our income. For some, loan forgiveness might be an option — among others there are military workers, teachers and people in medicine who could benefit. But still, it is still important to remember that everyone won’t qualify to be “forgiven.” Then there are always all those people who spend four years in college and can’t find a job.

Granted, we don’t live in a perfect, cookie-cutter world. A lot of people face some sort of financial turmoil in their lives, but it is happening to people at younger ages, who have a hard time asking mom and dad for help because the recession affects them, too.

Eventually, those in the middle class and below aren’t even going to try attending college.

It’s becoming less affordable, and people find it easier to skip higher education now and go back later. With a mindset like that, the middle class will surely continue to shrink.

The college appeal is diminishing. Instead of getting the full college experience — finding one’s self, meeting lifelong friends and, of course, getting an education —students are giving up their priorities of being a student and making them second on their list, right behind a menial part-time job or two that hardly pays enough to cover rent.

Upon graduation, instead of finding a job in a new city, we’re packing up our stuff and heading back home.

Something about this picture seems backward.

If our communities continue this way, we’ll have a spiral downfall. The middle class will get increasingly smaller. The line between the upper and lower classes will become more definite. Fewer people will be educated. Fewer jobs requiring skills will exist. And so on.

Sure, we live in America. We grew up to our parents and teachers telling us we can do anything we want someday. Too bad they never warned us how hard it would be.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion

of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.