|A view of the main artery in Springfield - State Street - with Springfield Technical Community College campus in upper left of picture.|
Friday, August 20, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
lists the economic impact of higher education institutions in
New England as $118 Billion. Although Massachusetts, a world-wide leader in higher education, contributes the majority of that amount - $81 Billion, the other New England states all have impact in the Billions of dollars.
There are many eye-popping statistics in the report that demonstrate the importance of higher education to the region’s economy. To site one example, according to the report,
“There were more individuals employed at Massachusetts’ accredited higher education institutions in FY07 than there were lawyers, dentists, computer programmers, architects, social workers, photographers, psychiatrists, surgeons, pharmacists, police officers, real estate agents, and construction laborers in the state, combined.”
In this time of economic turmoil, higher education as an industry should be recognized and supported.
Monday, August 16, 2010
While unsustainable consumer debt has helped bring the American economy to its knees, little attention has been given to the growing amount owed by college students. A June statistics released by the Federal Reserve Bank has underlined the amount of student debt. The total amount of student loans nationally- $830 Billion – now exceeds that of credit cards - $827 Billion. (See the Wall Street Journal Blog http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2010/08/09/student-loan-debt-surpasses-credit-cards )
This generation of college students enters the workforce with a debt burden that will take years to repay. And unlike credit card debt, student loans typically are not eliminated through bankruptcy.
The long term consequences for college graduates (and those that do not finish college) are significant: less disposable income after starting work, more stress and pressure due to large debts and more difficulty in making large purchases such as homes. Reducing student debt would have a beneficial effect on the housing market as young educated couples would be better credit risks for new homes.
What, however, can be done? Keeping public colleges open and affordable is a key step. States need to pay attention to their public college systems which provide excellent education at a reasonable cost to students. In this light, the recent reductions to public colleges and universities by State Legislatures and Governors is troubling, compounding financial pressure on students. To reserve these trends, students need to become politically active in defending their interests: a chance for a college education at an affordable price.