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Graduate school good choice in uncertain economy

After years of hard work in preparation for graduation and our entrance into the workforce, the economy has taken a turn for the worse. This year’s crop of graduating seniors will face a difficult time in the nation’s economy and will find it increasingly difficult to find work for the amount of pay or responsibility they had once expected.

Along with the current credit crunch, concerns have been raised over the future of student loans. However, this time of recession is a prime opportunity for students to take advantage of graduate school. In such uncertain times as these, education is our best investment.

Consider the possibility of skipping this entire recession and returning just as the economy begins its way back up, more educated and qualified to take advantage of opportunities. Instead of facing the uncertainty of finding a suitable career and fighting through three years of low rank and pay, that time could be spent earning an MBA, law degree or any graduate degree in your respective field.

There are certain times when just as things begin to look hopeless, the stars align and opportunity emerges from the wreckage. This may very well be one of those times for the class of 2009.

When considering graduate school, the first thing that comes to mind is financing. Couple that with the current credit crunch and it appears that this may not be such a great option. However, it is actually just the opposite. In times of economic turmoil it is obvious that certain corners must be cut and budgeting becomes much more important.

For this reason, people think that credit problems will lead to a reduction in the availability of student loans. Although certain changes must be made in the process of allocating loans, the truth is that our government cannot afford to discourage higher education.

This is true at all times, but especially now. When there are problems as significant as the current global issues, the last thing we need is to limit education. If there is a panic among young people to opt out of graduate school or college altogether in order to enter the workforce, then this will lead to a longer road to full economic recovery.

As of now, the changes that will be made in awarding student loans are concerned with loaning out money to students who are unlikely to graduate or the school they are attending shows record of low graduation rates.

This is a necessary move to cut excessive losses on student loans, but there is no worry for students at schools such as TCU. The university has an excellent record of graduation instilled in its overall culture. For the class of 2001, 66 percent of students receiving financial aid graduated in six years or less, according to the 2008 Factbook.

If this does not ease your fears, bear in mind the U.S. Department of Education has agreed to provide more than $83 billion this year in student aid for postsecondary education.

Based on the current circumstances, graduating and even rising seniors should seriously consider the option of graduate school. Not only does it offer an opportunity to avoid problems with job placement, it ultimately leads to a more educated society. With hope, we as Americans can learn from the mistakes that led to this economic disaster, and the first step in doing so is educating the people.

Derek VerHagen is an entrepreneurial management major from Rockwall.

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