College has always been a place that cultivates knowledge and Free Expression. Ideally, a student will leave college with both a refined worldview and an ability to make money, though the latter seems to have been forgotten.
According to Forbes, former student borrowers in the United States alone have 1.5 trillion dollars in student loan debt. The average borrower from the class of 2016 owes $37,172. If trends don’t change, we’re looking head on at a student loan crisis, and, as a society, we still don’t understand why.
Understanding this problem begins with understanding why people choose their respective majors. In many households, a four-year college graduation is expected from kids. They are told that it does not matter what the degree it is, as long as they get a degree. The assumption is that any college degree means making enough money to support themselves. Almost no emphasis is put on earning potential. While money is not everything, it is foolish to look at something as expensive as college as anything but an investment. A history major makes an average of $52,000 (Historians.com) while a new electrical engineering graduate can expect to make $57,000 in his or her first year on the job (Forbes.com). That is not to say don’t follow your passion, but rather the taxpayer should not pay for a degree that isn’t likely to provide a return on investment.
Guaranteeing huge loans tells the 18-year-old high school senior that their decisions do not matter. They can get a degree in whatever they want, skip class when it’s not convenient to go, and expect everything to be handed to them. And why wouldn’t they? They aren’t paying anything to be there. They put the massive costs of college in the back of their mind, like a “cross that bridge when we get there” mentality. The bridge ends up being hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt and no way to pay it back.
Students need to understand exactly what they are getting into when choosing both a major and a school. Expensive schools do not always result in higher salary, and just because a student enjoys something doesn’t mean it will make them money after school ends.
Young people should be able to follow their dreams, but the American taxpayer shouldn’t guarantee the loans unless the degree has a high probability of a high paying job.
Meanwhile, professors are giving students opinions and wrapping it all up as objective. They tell you that Free Speech is important— but only if you have a specific set of opinions.
In the minds of young people, anything offensive should be censored. This gives college students the idea that their thoughts and opinions must be validated by the thoughts and actions of others. Conservative students, however, are forced into ostracization. Their opinions do not fall in the acceptable category. If you do speak up you become a racist, sexist, homophobe, and xenophobe. It becomes impossible for Free Expression to thrive in the exact place it is supposed to.
All of this combines to create a dangerous culture of entitlement that is bad not only for the individual but also society as a whole.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.