Sunday, September 20, 2009

College and the Recession

            The United States is in the worst recession since the Great Depression and no one is more affected in an indirect way than high school students who are looking at heading off to college after graduating.

            “Students and parents face the worst economy in a generation as they begin the college search process,” said US News editor Brian Kelly in a video on the magazine’s website. 

            The initial group to be dramatically affected by the economy has been the college class of 2013, the new freshmen in colleges across the country.  While older students at colleges and universities have been affected, this class was in the search and application process when the worst of the recession was happening.

            “My parents told me that my dad had lost his job and if I was going to go out of state for school then I would have to get more scholarship money than originally planned,” said Walter St. Denis, energy management freshman at the University of Oklahoma.  “Thankfully I was able to get some help.”

            While other freshmen weren’t affected personally by the economy, they knew friends and relatives who were.  There are not many college students who do not know someone who has had to find an alternate route to school.

            “One of my friends got a big scholarship to OSU [Oklahoma State University] but had to go to TCC [Tulsa Community College] due to the economy,” said Cooper Duncan, mechanical engineering freshman at the University of Oklahoma.

            Those that are able to come to college without a second thought are definitely lucky and blessed to be in that position.  Many people are of the opinion that school is the best place to be during the recession because there is really no point in looking for jobs that do not exist.

            “With the economy down, it’s actually the best time to be in school because you don’t want to be out looking for a job,” said Barrett Powers, political science sophomore at the University of Oklahoma.  “If you can afford to be in school, you should stay in as long as you can.”

             University employees also feel the pressure of the economy as it cuts budgets and restricts what each college within the university can do.  Chris Borthick, academic advisor at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma says they suffer right along with the students without going to class.

            “The thing about all this [the recession] is that every college is hit with the problems as well because our budgets are reduced, so we are hit in our own way,” said Borthick.

            The recession has taken a turn for the better and economists and the general public hope that things get better in the near future.  However, many people still feel that there is reason to be cautious and frugal with money.

            “We’re still in a recession and it’s very likely we could all have to go back,” said Blake Corgan, University College freshman at the University of Oklahoma.  “My dad could lose his job at any time.”

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