20-year-old Jeremy Epstein, an Adelphi University student, began the second presidential debate with a question on the minds of many college students: What can you say to reassure me that I will get a job when I graduate?
Whoever wins the election in November will have a profound impact on college students while they are in college and after. The Beacon believes Barack Obama continues to be the best candidate for students.
Admittedly, the past four years have been rough for students. Total student loan debt eclipsed credit card debt last year, private, state and community colleges continue to raise tuition every year, and approximately 50 percent of this year's graduating class will be jobless or underemployed according to a study by Northeastern University.
But creating jobs while, at the same time, keeping college affordable is a key part of Obama's platform. He has already done a lot for students.
Government aid in the form of student loans and grants is the highest in history. Obama streamlined the process of acquiring financial aid by ending a system of distributing federal aid through banks and insurance companies. Because banks no longer govern student loans, Obama instituted a student loan forgiveness program so students have to pay only 10 percent of their income to repay loans, and only for 25 years depending on your income and family size.
Mitt Romney supports bringing corporations back into the student loans equation. At a time when students rely on federal dollars to attend increasingly costly of college, Romney believes that federal investment in higher education is driving up the cost of college. For this reason, for most of his campaign, he's said readjusting Pell grants is the key to fixing the education system. Recently, he's said he would keep Pell grants the same. One of his many flip-flops.
When asked about how he can help college students, Romney focuses on how he will create jobs after graduation rather than specifying any plans for financing college.
President Obama wants to create jobs as well, but high-skill jobs. From manufacturing to renewable energy to new technology, the jobs that will come as a result of Obama's re-election will fully employ students with the jobs for which they earned their degree. Rather than having low skill jobs, students will (we hope) enjoy meaningful employment and salaries that will help them repay student loan debt.
Four years of Obama's policies to promote job creation are finally starting to see results. The unemployment rate is under 8 percent for the first time since "the Great Recession" began. The Department of Labor reports that 4.4 million jobs have been created in the Obama administration, and that number continues to increase.
Romney also has committed himself to repealing Obamacare on day one of his presidency. Under Obamacare, people are covered by their parents' health insurance until 26, which stops another burdensome cost on students. It remains to be seen whether or not Obamacare will provide decreased costs and better healthcare in the United States in the long term as the President claims. But the President's push for health care reform could be a game changer in terms of reduced costs and improved coverage down the line.
Lastly, the President's leadership around the world makes him the best choice in 2012. He doesn't see the rest of the world like players in the stock market the way Romney does. Obama began his presidency by scaling back nuclear arms around the world, has promoted peace in the Mideast but more than anything he is a man the rest of the world respects. He is not a businessman who gambles with companies and people's lives, but a genuine person.
These are tough times to be a student, with increasing tuition costs and a bad economy to enter post graduation. But President Obama's leadership has already mitigated many of the worst challenges. By re-electing him, students will help themselves in the short term because of Obama's support for federal student loans and in the long term because of the President's plans to create more high-skill jobs. Obama's impact will be felt late into student's late 20s because of his health care reform. Despite troubled times, Obama's proven leadership at home and abroad makes him a great President for four more years.
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