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I went to college to further my own career ambitions and to stop slogging away hours in retail.  Frankly, I wanted something better for myself.  I believed college was THE answer.

I went to Full Sail University and graduated valedictorian of my class with a degree in Digital Arts & Design (October 2008).  The cost was high, and I understood the debt accredited to my name.  I thought my options were open.

Since graduation, I have experienced a good deal of unemployment, totaling 988 days, in my search for job security.  I had to give up a full time position recently because I couldn't afford to live in the area.  My only option was to move back to New England and live with my parents.  I have exhausted the last of my funds since May, falling behind in managing my debts.

What I find most frustrating is people consoling me that I'm not the only one in this situation.  If that is the case, why does it seem that no one cares?  Obama and Romney talk about lowering tuition for another group of academic attendees.  What recourse is there for those who have graduated?  NONE.  College graduates cannot apply for unemployment if they do not find work to begin with.

The cost of living is difficult today.  With an entry level salary of $40,000, my educational loans, both FEDERAL and PRIVATE, take up 73% of my net income.  That leaves barely enough to cover a car, gasoline, phone, insurance, an apartment, or food.  No matter if you live in Fayetteville NC or Attleboro MA, the repayment of the loans never changes.

If I am not the only one dealing with this problem, why are we encouraging more students to follow the same thorny path?  We don't need more affordable educations or better health care; we need JOBS.  We need means by which to support our financial responsibilities.  The problem here is the economy is garbage, but my creditors won't accept that as an excuse.

Wells Fargo places a bad mark on my credit report.  Some employers use that same credit report during the application process.  How is that fair?  I need a better paying job to pay these bills but they destroy my credibility.  The inability to discharge private student loans through bankruptcy has created a modern day debtors' prison.  I can never get ahead working odd jobs in McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts.  My pursuit of happiness is essentially over before I'm allowed to start.

My anger does not lie entirely with private lenders.  Politicians have passed legislation to prevent private loan bankruptcy from occurring.  Romney and Obama don't care for anything but your vote.  I've written both the candidate and the President seeking help.  I was either dismissed or told that the government has no control over private lending institutions and how they conduct their business.  What the heck was the federal bailout about then?

Don't believe Obama or Romney that education is more affordable!  It is a half-truth based on circumstances beyond their control.  Those running for electoral office want only to secure their next job; this is no different than the common man.  However, the profession should be based on deeds and not great expectations or grandiose speeches.

I recommend to those thinking of higher education, join the military instead.  Work hard, serve your country, and use your pay for whatever schooling you can afford.  The job market is horrid, especially when junior-level graduates are being tested against senior-level industry experts for the same job.

College students don't need AFFORDABILITY.  They need the opportunity for REPAYABILITY; otherwise, their educational efforts are wasted.
This editorial was written with the intent of being turned into a motion graphics piece. However, I believe the words themselves are strong enough now and do not require a visual component.

The subject matter is important to me as education and affording it seem to be promises thrown about for the sake of a vote.
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Submitted on
November 6, 2012
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