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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

July 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Editorial: Blind decisions break the bank

America’s higher education system has made a dent in students’ wallets, but tuition isn’t solely to blame for their financial burdens.

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Cartoon by Caroline Roe

The issue of student debt is growing more political. A feasible part of President Barack Obama’s new proposal to reduce student debt considers students’ financial ability to repay loans. However, the other part about eliminating debt after 20 years doesn’t seem realistic. The president’s proposal only perpetuates irresponsible borrowing, considering student debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time this year, and our national debt of more than $15 trillion is pushing the country closer to another recession.

But perhaps one reason for this debt is that students aren’t fully educated on options for higher education. Community colleges, state schools and international exchanges can be cheaper than some well-known private institutions. By studying at less-expensive institutions, students can explore their interests, cultivate passions and then move on to possibly more specialized colleges for job preparation, which could help eliminate some financial worries.

Those who want more than a career-focused education, however, may choose to invest in the “experience” of campus community and local culture that comes with a hefty tuition price. While some argue students make too large of financial decisions, it doesn’t apply to those who invest in the experience places like Ithaca or Dartmouth additionally offers.

If students were more educated about the options available to choose from, they could be saving time and money. This awareness could also help students weigh both the personal and dollar value of their education before making a decision that could leave them dancing with debt.America’s higher education system has made a dent in students’ wallets, but tuition isn’t solely to blame for their financial burdens.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline