PSEA members speak out on college affordability
College and university affordability is a major issue facing students, parents, and our higher education system. The Project on Student Debt ranks Pennsylvania among the top 10 states in the country for the highest student debt.
Student-PSEA members Ashley Lovejoy and Karyn Reinhold and PA Association of Higher Education President Jane Munley understand the problems of college and university affordability in Pennsylvania, and each testified before the Board of Education this fall about how tuition and college debt affects students and our higher education system.
Jane Munley discussed the economy’s potential effects on student enrollment. “With the current profound crisis in the United States economic system, the ability of students and their parents to find funding to support attendance at our colleges and universities will be drastically and negatively impacted. It will result in students having to make very difficult choices as to whether or not they are able to continue to attend our colleges and universities. If they do attend, how can they do so without ending their studies with a tremendous debt, the likes of which previous generations did not have to face at the start of their careers?”
Student-PSEA members Reinhold and Lovejoy discussed college and university affordability’s impact on students.
“I sit here today $42,940.72 in debts with still another year of school until I graduate. I have had to take time off from school because I could not afford the difference between the cost of tuition and the amount I was receiving in loans,” said Lovejoy. “Now that I am a commuter and living off campus I am able to afford the tuition through loans. Yet, with my starting salary as a teacher, I fear for how I will be able to repay my student loans and pay for my everyday necessities to live.”
Reinhold said, “I hope that, by talking about my own situation and my friends’ situations, you can see the faces of Pennsylvania young adults who are starting out their professional lives carrying a burden of debt that I believe was unheard of for prior generations of college graduates. This is particularly painful in light of the fact that, today, having a college education is more necessary than ever to obtaining a decent job.”
The Patriot News and Pittsburgh Tribune Review printed stories about the issue, incorporating Student-PSEA members’ testimony.
Full transcripts of each member’s statements are available on PSEA.org.