Beyond Financial Hardship On Students, ‘College Bubble’ A Danger To All Of Us

11 months ago Comments Off
Posted in: Blog

It was great to see the impressive reporting in Sunday’s Enquirer by Cliff Peale on an important story.

“The College Bubble” reported on the cost of student debt, not only to students but the nation in general. It’s a $986 billion bubble that poses danger to the national economy, much like the Internet bubble in 2000 and the housing bubble in 2009, Peale reported.

Thanks, Cliff. What you don’t know, and certainly did not intend, is that you have given Charitable Words fodder to link to as it moves forward to convince funders to support college students who care about causes – and need help achieving their dreams.

Since last fall, 12 Charitable Words Scholars have been funded and matched with nonprofits in Greater Cincinnati and around the globe. This summer, I expect Charitable Words will attain 501(c)3 status in time to fundraise and fund many more students in the next school year. The goal for 2014 is at least 30. The scale of the problem outlined in the Enquirer stories shows how much help these students need. If this initiative gets traction – and adequate funding – I hope it can help hundreds down the line.

A few weeks ago, Charitable Words blogged about “Millennials: A Generation Hungry to Help,” noting that current college students (including our three) “grew up with images of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. But they did not hide under their desks in fear. They went to work.”

The post noted that volunteer rates for ages 16-24 doubled in the 90s through the 2000s, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees Americorps and other programs. Three in five 18-24 year olds surveyed by the Harvard University Institute of Politics said they were interested in public service.

But, as Peale reported, this is a generation burdened with school expenses. Today’s college students will graduate with an average student loan debt of $26,600. That leaves little room to spend or save. And promises little stimulus to the economy. Peale reported that of those carrying student debt, 40 percent say they have postponed contributions to retirement plans, 29 percent have put off buying a house and 15 percent have postponed marriage.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit sector is underfunded and understaffed, but there’s work to be done in 1 million agencies (100,000 in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana) that represent 10 percent of the U.S. workforce and growing. A generation hungry to help, in need of support, connecting with nonprofits who need their talents and passion.

“Win-win” is a term I have been using in grant proposal drafts.

Cliff Peale’s reporting Sunday put the story into a bigger economic context relevant to all of us. Whether we have students impacted by the college bubble or not, we are all invested.

Research also shows that half face unemployment when they get out of school, according to Intern in Ohio, a resource that matches students with employers. Intern in Ohio reports that students who gain internships have a 60 percent chance of landing a job with the hosting institution and 83 percent stay in the region in which they intern. That is important to the local economy.

So, if we can get students funded and nonprofits help and it means they stay in the region and contribute to their community and its economy.

Score another win.

Charitable Words Scholars connects and funds students interested in humanitarian work with nonprofits in Greater Cincinnati and around the globe. For information: charitablewords.com or tcallinan@charitablewords.comfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinby feather

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