Future Generations Burdened by Excessive Student Debt

Editor’s Note: Melissa is the Vice President of Development at Kilns College.

By Guest Blogger: Melissa McCreery

I came across this video while researching an entirely different topic for a different assignment. The New York Times video—coupled with an email I received from a prominent higher education journal inviting me to attend a seminar on Student Loan Default Aversion: Forum on Research and Best Practices—caused be to stop and think about how the high cost of earning a college degree may cause financial hardship rather than socioeconomic advantages for future generations.  According to the department of education, in the U.S. today there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

Click here to view the NY Times video and article: College Costs Weighing Down a Generation with Student Debt. 

The video also addresses the larger question of why we attend college. Is it to land a job with a big paycheck and signing bonus? Or, to further our knowledge and learn for the pure joy of learning? If you fall into the former category, I highly recommend you watch this video.

To be clear, my intent in posting this is not to condemn colleges that charge high tuition rates. Many institutions increase tuition as a last resort, when faced with decreased state and federal funding and dried up donor pools. No, at the end of the day it’s not entirely the school’s fault.

My purpose in addressing this issue is merely to begin a dialogue about it. Since my own graduation (in practicing full disclosure, I myself attended a school which would fall into the “high tuition” category), I’ve wondered what exactly my tuition paid for, and would I have been able to receive the same education elsewhere? My Alma Mater would argue I paid for my education and my collegiate experience (football games, world renowned guest lecturers, state-of-the-art technology, etc).

Would I have received the same experience and quality education at another, more affordable school? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is it’s a question incoming college students and their families should at least be asking.

Melissa grew up in Southern California and attended the University of Southern California where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. After working as a First Year Advisor at USC, Melissa moved to Boston to pursue graduate studies. She earned her Ed.M in Higher Education from Harvard University and moved to Bend, Oregon following graduation. Prior to working at Kilns College, Melissa worked at several college and higher education organizations such as USC, the New England Board of Higher Education, Emerson College, and Central Oregon Community College



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