Will they find an adequate job? Will it pay enough to cover their monthly student loan payments? Will they have to move back in with their parents? Or hide out in grad school? Will things get better by graduation day?
The issues that college students are passionate about vary from campus to campus, region to region, and major to major. Something that is consistent: student loan debt. At least two-thirds of students at four-year universities take on debt to pay for school, according to FinAid.org, and the total amount of outstanding student loan debt passed the $1 trillion mark last year.
Obama and Romney have both supported extending the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which is set to expire this summer and lowered the interest rate on federal student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. It’s unclear what Congress will do, and the Post has reported that many Republican lawmakers have balked at the $6 billion price tag attached to a one-year extension.
Meanwhile, Romney has also been appealing to young voters and recent college graduates who are faced with a bleak job market.
“I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they’re really thinking of what’s in the best interest of the country and what’s in their personal best interest, because the president’s policies have led to extraordinary statistics,” Romney said during a press conference on Monday.
In addition to the 20-somethings who were old enough to vote during the last election, there’s a new wave of college voters who were under 18 in 2008. Senior White House officials told The Post on Monday that a key goal of Obama’s re-election campaign is to register as many of these young voters as possible.
Schriver said many of these first-time voters have likely watched the struggles of their older brothers and sisters, some of whom might be unemployed or underemployed and living back at home. For them, the worries are greater than just student loan debt.
“They are worried about how they are going to be able to pay the bills, to support themselves,” said Schriver, who graduated in late 2010. “It’s jobs, jobs, jobs.”