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Laquinda Settles Headshot

A Degree in Hand, But What For?

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Life after college -- millions of college seniors are look forward to it. But are they really prepared for what lies ahead? Paying back student loans, looking for a job and beginning a new chapter in life. My professors always gave us speeches: "You are the future," "you will stand out because of that piece of paper you worked so hard for," "looking for a job will be easy because you're the minority." If we both know how hard I worked for this degree, why can't I get a job? Were my professors selling me a dream or telling me this so I don't think about the amount of money my education cost?

I graduated from the New York Institute of Technology in May 2010 with a degree in Communication Arts; I am currently working 2 part-time jobs with no benefits and making $12 an hour. I'm also so over my head in debt with college loans. It's to the point that I'm considering filing for bankruptcy. I went to college to educate myself and make more money, but it feels like I dug my own grave. College is one of the biggest scams in the world; some of these institutions charge students between $700-$800 per credit for an undergrad degree.

FAFSA is suppose to help, but you're still taking out Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans and Unsubsidized Loans, and they are not enough. So you take out private loans from banks like Chase and Citi bank. When filling out these forms, my family and I didn't realize what we were doing. My parents never went to college, they were happy I went and got the opportunity they never had. But did they want me to be in debt before turning 25? Or knowing loan companies could come after my grandma's house and bank account because she is my co-signer and I couldn't make a payment on time? Nor were we aware that the interest rates on my private loans could increase at any time.

Ten years ago, college grads were making livable salaries after graduating; now we can barely make $25,000 a year. We're hurting in this economy; it's sad to see college grads applying for public assistance. All because the government wants to bail out banks and CEOs who misused their money on living extravagant lifestyles. It's disturbing to know the government won't bail out college grads in debt or people who really need it.