Economic Creativity or Desperation?June 25, 2008
Women students face continuing pressures to pay for their college or university education. Although women are outperforming their male counterparts in college, producing higher GPAs, women still earn less money than men do just one year out of college. Ever-increasing college tuition rates are adding to the financial hardships many women must deal with. AAUW has always acknowledged the critical need for funding women’s education, as evidenced by the millions distributed annually through the AAUW Educational Foundation’s fellowships and grants. But if college tuitions keep rising and the pay gap remains, how will women ever pay off their debts and lead lives of economic prosperity?
Many students are unable to receive assistance from their parents to pay for their education, and now some cannot even turn to banks for help. According to an article in the New York Times, some banks are denying loans to community college students, who often need help the most. Some students are attempting to raise funds to support their education in new desperate ways. The Washington Post article “Majoring in Plastic” reports that college students are using credit cards to pay their tuition. This risky financial move and the resulting high interest rates students face could lead to future bankruptcy.
Other students are turning to the Internet to find ways to pay for college. One woman posted a video on YouTube asking viewers to pay her $65,000 bill. So far, no one has sent her a $65,000 check. What will people come up with next? How far are they willing to go to pay for the education they so rightly deserve?
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both promise to help students with their loans. Obama plans to give students a $4,000 tax credit to help pay tuition and fees in exchange for 100 hours of community service. McCain wants to implement a student loan continuity plan by calling on federal and state governments to anticipate loan problems and expand the lender of last resort capabilities for each state’s guarantee agency. I hope these efforts will prove beneficial in the near future. What do you think the next president should do to make sure students can afford college?
This post is by Michelle Gellman, AAUW Leadership and Training Institute Fellow.