The dollar signs attached to a college degree

MarchaŠ Grair

As a college student, I know what it means to obsess about money.

The dollar menu at any fast food chain is my gourmet dinner, and clearance sections in my favorite stores are a little piece of heaven.

I sleep in an uncomfortable dorm room that costs me more than $2,000 a semester, and I eat instant dinners from Eastway which cost me more than lunch at Applebee’s. I attempt to find a home cooked meal and leave the campus cafeterias with $10 less on my food plan.

When the parking meters are full but I need to park close to my dorm, I receive a $50 ticket for a campus problem administration refuses to solve.

If I need an extra text book, I leave the book store hundreds of dollars poorer because of professors who demand the one extra sentence in a new book merits buying a new text.

I struggle to keep the thousands of dollars I receive in scholarships because I work part-time between my 17 credit hours of school work.

I struggle to put gas in a Ford Escort that probably has one of the smallest gas tanks known to man. Yet I still lose $30 at a gas station every three or four days because of a government that will not say enough is enough.

I live in a state where my education could stand to be little more than personally rewarding.

One in four graduating seniors had more than $25,000 in debt, according to an Akron Beacon Journal special focusing on the cost of higher education. Fifteen percent of parents have taken out $17,709 in federal loans by the time they graduate.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s savings plan was recently ranked one of the worst in the nation. In Ohio, even those who try to save early end up losing out.

Those who graduate from college average nearly twice as much as those who do not, but the starting salaries coming out of college are worse than ever.

Students who graduate now make less than their parents who graduated from college.

As this generation makes less, college demands more.

Those with student loans have skyrocketed from 50 to 66 percent in 10 years. The average college loan amount, considering inflation, is almost exponential.

Something has to be done.

I know Gov. Strickland talks of change, but I want to see it.

I want to see the day when a woman like me does not have to go into poverty to be educated. I want to see a focus on retention through the reduction in fees and the dedication to giving students the most for their buck.

I do not think it’s a mystery why Ohio has trouble attracting both out-of-states students and keeping college graduates.

We pay more to learn here and get less in return.

MarchaŠ Grair is probably working at her job right now to pay for the time spent writing this article. Contact her at [email protected].