Karina Barriga Albring
While college is known to be a time to learn from mistakes, prepare academically and emotionally and get ready for the ‘real world’, many Keene State College students feel that they are already facing the challenges of a competitive, expensive, tough, ‘real world.’
Finding a job and future debt concerns were cited by 90 percent of 20 Keene State College students informally surveyed recently.
“The job market situation in the U.S. is bad. We all want to get jobs,” junior Brett Mastrengelo said. He said many students are currently financing college by themselves, so money issues are a huge deal.
Junior Ellen Landsdale is part of this group. She mentioned she is paying for her education by herself. “I am really busy between classes and work. It is really hard,” Landsdale said.
Similarly, in the survey 65 percent of the students identified economics as one of the major problems facing the United States nowadays.
Results from the survey showed that even before coming close to graduation, many students have to put up with economic issues that can turn out to be stressful and affect their schoolwork.
KSC sophomore Nick Martin said time management is crucial for students because, “Almost everyone has to arrange their schedules to be able to work and still complete their school work.”
Junior Adam Foster said, “You need to do everything you can to ensure you have a good job after you graduate, so you can pay back for your education. College is becoming more expensive every day.”
In fact, in 2009 a budget cut of 49 percent from state funding made Keene State College increase tuition for in-state students.
According to KSC Interim President Jay Kahn, next fall the college tuition will increase in 2.8 percent for out-of-state students.
However, he said a proposal from governor Maggie Hassan to the legislators may allow public colleges in N.H. to freeze in-state tuition.
Reductions in college funding and increases in interest rate lead students to worry about the future. Foster stated, “I work and study at the same time because I want to graduate with the least amount of debt possible.”
Foster’s behavior seems logical considering that, according to the Center for American Progress, student debt in America currently exceeds $1 trillion.
The center’s website also states that two thirds of the students who earn four-year bachelor degrees graduate with an average student loan debt of more than $25,000 and one in 10 borrowers owe more than $54,000.
A survey compiled by U.S news in 2012 indicated that 68 percent of students in the United States have debt at graduation.
Regarding student debt, Kahn said, “One of the college’s top concerns is to make sure that the students are completely aware of the cost of their education and that they fully understand the terms before they enroll or apply for a loan.”
Kahn also mentioned that around 90 percent of Keene State College students receive aid to help cover for their education expenses.
However, many students have words like “tuition” and “debt” tattooed on their brains.
Like Foster, junior Scott Douglas said he is concerned about his student debt. Douglas said he is currently paying money back for student loans and will be paying back more when he graduates. “I have to keep up with the payments. It is very hard,” he said.
All surveyed seniors said finding a stable job after college is an essential aspect and most younger students agreed that tuition costs are a priority issue in their lives.
Freshman Kyla Jones said tuition is one of her major concerns since she has to work to cover her education expenses. Even though she hasn’t decided what major she wants to complete while in KSC, she said she knows she needs to earn money to pay for being here.
Seniors Danielle Clark and Chris Ruble agreed that as they come closer and closer to graduation, they become more concerned about finding a job.
Jill Murphy, who graduated from Keene State College last year, said, “It is very scary to graduate nowadays and not have a job, especially after all the money you have spent to be able to come to college. It just doesn’t seem logical.”
Clark explained students’ preoccupation comes along with how the media presents the economic situation of the Unites States.
“All you hear is that unemployment is going up and that the country is in debt,” Clark said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in the U.S went up from 7.8 percent in December 2012 to 7.9 percent in January 2013.
The Bureau stated that the current employment rate is higher than the averaged unemployment rate between 1948 and 2013, which marked 5.81 percent.
Nevertheless, the most recent report from the department of Institutional Research in Keene State College (2011) indicates that the job rate upon graduation is 87 percent.
Different departments in Keene State College are constantly working to keep the statistics up and bring students good news regarding job opportunities and career projection.
Maryann Lindberg, from the Alumni Center said her department works with different employers to build career networks for future KSC graduates.
The Academic and Career Advising Office (ACA) in the college has put on several initiatives to help the future graduates get rid of the pressure and be prepared to enter the professional field.
Academic and Career Advising Associate Director Kelly Graham said her office together with other departments in the college will be sponsoring three job fairs this semester.
Graham said, “We run a workshop to help students make the best out of the fairs. Also, the staff offers one-on-one meetings to every student to help them work on their resumes, write cover letters, prepare for interviews.”
Additionally, Graham noted the academic and career advising’s website has a link named “Job Wise,” where students can search for job opportunities as well as internship opportunities.
Senior AJ Mucciano said it is crucial to present employers a good resume. Mucciano said as his graduation date gets close, he finds himself constantly updating his CV, building relationships in the professional field and searching employer’s websites.
He said he is worried about economics issues as minimal wage.
Mucciano concluded saying, “Everything costs more every day. Minimal wage should increase too. I am a starving college student and I really need a job.”
Karina Barriga Albring
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