Bill to relieve student cost

By Molly Kearney
March 19, 2009

With the economy in collapse, the time has come to save higher education.

If the educational system is not fixed, how do we expect the leaders of tomorrow to lead the economy in the future?

Currently, a stimulus bill working its way through Congress that would help thousands of students pay for college and could give colleges money to fix their crumbling campuses. But the great debate is not education, rather how would money towards education save the current economy?

During recent debates, Arne Duncan, secretary of education, said, “The best thing we can do is educate our way to a better economy.” This new bill is expected to make college more affordable and give both short-term and long-term economic benefits by improving national and local economies and moving more Americans into the middle class.

College presidents across the country say a Pell increase would help college students who are struggling financially, while easing growing budget problems. Many colleges have increased institutional aid in the economic recession but say they cannot do so forever.

At the same time, the long term effects must be looked at. The stimulus package could triple the Education Department’s budget, which would allow for many more students to attend college. The federal government’s role in colleges would also become greater. The increase of budget would also intensify the federal deficit and what would happen when the country’s short-term money runs out?

Kate Schmidt, junior marking major, feels the stimulus bill would be good for education and lead to better paying jobs. Schmidt said, “With more educated people in the world, I feel that better decisions will be made when it comes to spending.” As a junior she realizes this would not really benefit her, and she doubts that with everything happening in the economy the bill will pass.

Jackie Schmidt, freshman business administration major, sees the country’s hard times through the eyes of other students. She mentions that families are having a hard time paying tuition and colleges have lost grants. Most importantly, Schmidt said, “Students are going to have to work extra hard to get well-paying jobs, especially in economic and business work areas.”

As a freshman, she is lucky and knows to start now, but what is going to happen to those graduating this year or next?

Meredith Rowe, senior graphic design major, realizes that as a graduating senior, this bill will have no effect on her. The effect may be in the future or they will have to foot the taxes that come from the bill.

Rowe explained, “The benefit is not immediate, but my kids would benefit.” As a graphic design major, Rowe is not really worried about the effect the economy has on the job market because the world always needs advertisements.

Dr. Mary Harris, associate professor of business administration, feels that the stimulus bill will help students but may not do so right away.

Harris said, “The bill is an expansionary fiscal stimulus package, which is necessary during these recessionary economic times.” She explained the purpose is to increase spending by consumers.

“If people are still uncertain about their jobs and the economy, then they may save the extra money instead of spending, which would not increase the GDP and help the economy,” Harris said.

Harris’ final view is what most are thinking: “I think the restructuring and regulation of the financial industry will need to be completed in order for the confidence to return and the economy to start improving.

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Molly Kearney

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