New United States College Scorecard

 Photo source: white house

Photo source: white house

Overview

President Obama recently released detailed information in regards to the college scorecard for America. For those that may not be too familiar with what this is… the college scorecard essentially focuses on the significant data that effect students (currently attending college and for the future), and college institutions as a whole.

Major Concern of American Students

One major issue we have acknowledged within the America’s college statistics is the financial economics that come with student’s accessibility to higher education. High tuition costs creates a cause and effect scenario to most students. The general public understands that most industries that require high-level skilled employees to operate properly. However, students whom would like to achieve their goals in specific career fields in order to obtain specific jobs incur long-term financial debt. The high margin of debt also includes students that are unable to pay their loans due to financial problems, and/or simply not able to find a job in their career field to provide financial stability.

Current Perspective of America’s Higher Education System

Thankfully in today’s society students are able to attend college online, which does provide more affordability than regular on campus students. Conversely, students still have to sustain some type of monetary commitment for their education. According to US News, American students currently have $1.2 trillion of college debt because of loans they have utilized. On average, students acquire $23,000 debt during/after their college career. Include interest rates (which differ depending upon on the borrowers contract) creates even more financial burden for students.  

For students that will like to lessen the amount of money they borrow for a college education include different types of scholarships.

Traditional scholarships/grants. Scholarship/grant associations give students the opportunity to earn money in order to pay for college expenses. Most associations require a minimal grade point average (GPA) level, an essay stipulation, and teacher/professor recommendations. These types of scholarships can range from $100 to $5,000 (on average) that can be awarded one time, or recurrent (every semester, or year) through a student’s time in college. It is important that student’s begin searching for these type of scholarships during their high school careers. The more traditional scholarships students earn before college, the better off students can become in regards to paying for their college expenses. It also allows students (and families) to have a perspective of what college institutions are reasonable (fiscally) and scouting out the options they have.

Industry specific scholarships/grants. A variety of industry related organizations offer students in high school and college the opportunity to earn scholarship money. Unlike traditional (open) scholarships, the pools of students applying for these subsidies are a little bit lower. This means that students have a better chance of being awarded multiple scholarships/grants.

In-school scholarships/grants. Many college institutions provide scholarships/grants specifically to students whom will attend (or are attending) their college. Typically these subsidies have requirements of maintaining a specific GPA and student status (half-time, or full-time). Some colleges provide scholarships/grants to students from money that is donated/funded by their alumni program(s). These are the opportunities that students should use to their advantage, as they can also enforce them to consistently do their best in college and never slack off.

What Can The Government Provide for College Students?

As a college graduate myself, I believe that the American government have all the necessity data necessary to better aide students and colleges. Statistics from the American Association of University Professors  depict college student’s abilities to work during and after college. During college, some students (depending upon the college institution) have the option of work-study to earn money as a job. On average, students are able to work between 10 and 15 hours a week to make money for college expenses. However, some students take on the responsibility of work-study plus an outside job(s) in order to maintain financial stability. There are a few methods I believe the government can utilize to better assist students the ability to lessen/eliminate student debt.

Increase work-study capabilities. Increasing the amount of hours a student can work on campus would be beneficial for both parties. If students were able to focus solely on one job and their class work, we would see a decrease in college dropouts and debt. Students normally become stressed and over-worked (fundamentally resulting in grades lowering) because of all the multiple responsibilities they have to take care of at once.  

Take the Denmark approach. Higher education in Denmark is free for native/residing students. Denmark’s government constructed a method that supports students from the EU/EEA and Switzerland in addition to students participating in an exchange program. Providing free higher education to students not only help students, but also the country’s economics considerably (as Denmark is a prime example).

As the most progressive country in the world (presumably) the United States college system is great, but we can do better. If the government would put more effort into providing substantial help to college students and institutions, we will see a better economic system and most important beneficial workforce.