To the Future Generations, I’m Sorry

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I’m sorry to say, but when it comes to education, the future generations are screwed.  At least if it continues the way its going now.  If it’s not from tuition costs going through the roof, it is cut backs to teachers and programs.  In 2012, we are seeing an increase in tuition hikes, teachers bullying students, student protests, less and fewer jobs for university and college graduates, and a mounting debt load that most if not all cannot handle.  When I was growing up, my parents would always tell me that if I worked hard, studied and went to school, everything would be okay.  I don’t know if I can tell my daughter that.

In a Globe and Mail article, Rob Carrick wrote that compared to 1984, the young people today do have it harder financially.  In 1984, a year of tuition cost approximately $1000.  Now, we’re looking at $5,300 +.  Now had tuition had increased with the rate of inflation, it would only cost $2,028.  That is a $3,272 increase.  That doesn’t sound too bad, but once you factor in books, school fees, and cost of living, you would have to budget for $20,000 a year.  Now if that hasn’t taken your breath away, they are predicting that in 18 years, it will cost $43,000 a year in tuition.  A YEAR!  How in the world can any parent and child work and earn enough to pay that a year for education?  Looks like I’m going to start selling off organs on the black market.  I may not be able to see her walk up on stage holding her diploma because I’ve sold off my eyes, but my daughter will graduate debt free.

If the views of the future for young people in Canada isn’t dismal enough, the United States isn’t looking any better.  In a study done by Pew Research Centre,  41% of the public believe that compared to any other age group, the group of 18 – 34 are having the hardest times during the current recession.  Only 54% of young people aged 18 – 24 are employed, this being the lowest rate its been since 1948.  Most are now putting off getting married, having children and are taking jobs they didn’t want just to make ends meet.  More and more now, adult children are moving back in with their parents.  And their parents are in agreement with their predicament.  Before the recession, most parents believed that by age 22, their children should be financially independent.  Now, the common age is 25+.  Another side effect of the recession, no jobs for graduates.  So many, unable to save enough to pay for tuition, are taking student loans to pay for school, to secure their futures.  What a cruel joke.  Young people are trying to make a future for themselves, furthering their education, taking out loans thinking they would pay them off once they secured that dream job, only to have no jobs available to them.  So with no jobs to make ends meet, they go back to school for another profession, accumulating more debt and still no jobs available.  And student debt is the only debt that is not covered under bankruptcy.  Nick Keith, a 36-year-old culinary graduate, now has a $142, 000 debt and is living out of a van, living off of food banks and sleeping at truck stops.  Is this to be our children’s fate?

Some of you may have heard of the protests in Montreal.  There are students protesting tuition hikes and the government is trying to put laws through to stop the protests.  Now correct me if I am wrong, but right to assembly is a constitutional right.  Were universities not once a place of free thinking, a place where people could gather and discuss openly without judgement.  Now they are nothing more than a money grabbing corporation.  I sincerely hope that one day that the government will take the necessary steps so that knowledge doesn’t carry a price tag.

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