Economy affecting college educations

By Brian Loschiavo
August 27, 2009

During the summer of 2009 the king of pop was laid to rest, gas prices fluctuated, the economy went for a rollercoaster ride, an American sex icon lost her battle with cancer, Obama’s approval ratings went down faster than anyone would have imagined and many college students were forced to make some serious decisions about the future of their educations.

Like many schools across the country, especially private, Cabrini has faced one of its lowest freshman enrollments in years. Many families are facing financial troubles and college loans are becoming hard to find. With this being the case many students have decided to attend public or community colleges that have traditionally lower tuition costs.

The last 15 years or so are said to have been the “golden age” for institutions of higher education across the country. Everywhere you looked you saw universities expanding and upgrading all over their campuses. With the economy of our country looking grim many schools now have had to make huge budget cuts that have taken away from many different areas at every college.

Government funding is down and donations from various support groups and alumni who may be facing their own financial woes have put the squeeze on colleges. Therefore tuition has gone up. With tuition on the rise and financial aid scarce many students are finding the need to either drop out or not attend college right out of high school.

The incoming Cabrini freshman class has 150 fewer students than the other classes currently at the college. The sophomore, junior and senior classes all enrolled from 513 students to 529 students when they were freshman. This is an obvious drop off in numbers and something that directly correlates with the economic status of our country. Everything is being affected.

Despite the grim economy, families of students and colleges all need to step back and look at the big picture. What is the long-term value of a good education? What are essential services colleges need to provide? Everyone needs to realize that in the end, being college educated and well rounded in many different areas will help anyone advance towards a better future. Higher education is a priority. Colleges need to realize that it’s important to focus on the essentials of education and to make cuts for the non-essentials.

All students who are privileged enough to be attending school should also understand that they need to take advantage of the opportunities at hand. College should not be something that you just go through the motions with. This is the time to prepare for an uncertain future. Students need to use their time at college to prepare for an ever-changing world.

This new academic year has brought many changes to Cabrini and colleges across the country. Although times are tough now, the economy will get better. The belt tightening that families, students and colleges are doing may make us all realize the value of our education. Students need to stay focused on what they are in school for and work toward their long-term goals. Colleges need to make sure that they provide the best value for students’ investment.

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Brian Loschiavo

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