Students face tuition issues in economic crisis

By Shannon Keough
October 30, 2008

With the economic crisis in full swing, people are now struggling to pay for college tuition. Cabrini College’s students and their families are no exception to this struggle.

Between the incomparable losses in the stock market, growing difficulty of obtaining loans and companies laying off their employees, the economic crisis has taken no prisoners.

Katie Engell, sophomore communication major, explained that because of her family’s extreme loss in mutual funds, there is a possibility she will not be able to return to Cabrini next semester.

Engell’s great grandfather was one of the creators of the PMA stock. Over time, her family had invested a lot of money in the stock, which has ensured their economic stability. However, with the drop in the market, “money isn’t promised right now,” Engell said.

She was paying for her college tuition through stock and bond funds, but was recently notified that money had been taken from those funds.

The Dow Jones industrial average is down 40 percent from last year and many college-savings plans have been affected as a result.

Other students are suffering due to their parents getting laid off at work.

Since last year, Renee Roff, senior elementary and special education major, has taken out loans to pay for school. Although her parents had planned on paying her tuition all four years, her father will be laid off at the end of this month, which they foresaw long ago.

Her brother also entered college

last year, making it unrealistic to pay for two college tuitions in their current economic situation.

Gianna Shikitino, sophomore communication major, is in a similar situation because her single mother was just laid off from one of her jobs.

“I know that I’m being affected by it [the economic crisis],” she said. Shikitino works a lot and refuses to ask her mom for money because she understands how times are tough right now.

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities surveyed its 953 member institutions in September and found that “38 percent of respondents stated that some of their students were working more.”

In addition, many students are taking off time from school or becoming part-time students.

While worrying about her current economic predicament, Shikitino also worries about her future.

“I don’t know if I’m going to get a job after college. I’m so scared because I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay them [her loans] off because of the economy,” she said.

Loan companies are also hurting, creating problems for students as a result.

Over the summer, Kate Conahan,junior exercise science and health promotion major, was refused by the loan company she borrows from every year. Although she was able to find another loan company that would accept her, her mom had a lot of trouble finding a loan for her younger sister who was starting her first year of college.

“My parents were telling me to either start working or we’ll all [her and her two siblings] be commuting to West Chester [University],” Conahan said.

According to a Fidelity Investments news release, a survey they conducted shows that more parents are depending on student loans this year-9 percent more than last year. However, almost 32 percent of these parents don’t feel they will obtain their desired loan amount.

“It makes me think a lot about my economic future, which I never had to do until now,” Engell said.

Shannon Keough

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