Put your trust in your own future

By Web Master

It’s nice to know that although we as Oakland University students are sure to continue procrastinating on our homework, administrators and politicians have not been procrastinating when it comes to helping us pay for our classes.

We applaud the efforts of President Barack Obama, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and OU president Gary Russi, to make it easier for college students to pay their tuition in trying times.

However, it’s up to us as students to ensure that the same emergency situation is not repeated in the next generation.

We can hear the snickers from the back already: “I can barely afford my Friday nights out. What makes you think you can convince me to start saving now for some squirt that I haven’t conceived yet?”

We understand that all-too-common thought process and sure enough, we’re not excited about giving up our $1,200 MacBooks just yet either. However, if it weren’t for that same lack of foresight of our generation’s parents, we wouldn’t be in this emergency situation.

The Michigan Education Trust began in 1988 as a trust fund, offering parents the chance to prepay for college tuition at the current rate for any children they have. Children can then go to college at the rate their parents paid for, whenever they decide to go to college. When the MET increased tuition rates Sunday, a light bulb should have gone off for parents taking classes at OU: Take advantage of this program now so your children don’t face the problems tomorrow that you are saddled with today.

For the multitude of OU students who are not parents or have not even considered that possibility, the MET is only one way to ensure a more secure financial future.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Commerce Department reported last week that in December alone, American consumption decreased by 1 percent while personal savings increased by 3.6 percent.

That’s a good sign — we are recognizing the necessity of saving in tough economic times. We can make sure that this idea becomes a habit rather than a trend by weaning ourselves of unnecessary luxuries: quitting the $6-a-pack cigarette habit, packing a lunch as opposed to eating fast food and concerning ourselves with function more than fashion.

Meanwhile, administrators and politicians are working hard to ease our current struggles with tuition payments.

Obama, for example, has proposed an American Opportunity Tax Credit for tuition in exchange for community service.

Gov. Granholm advocated a tuition freeze in her State of the State address Tuesday to help students and their families cope with the recession.

Closer to home, Russi announced the creation of a Special Tuition Assistance Fund for students at risk of dropping out due to drastically changing economic circumstances.

Presently, 60 percent of OU students get some kind of financial aid, but the need is sure to swell as the year continues.

There have already been over 650 inquiries into the fund since it was announced in December and so far 15 students have received assistance. There will be funding to cover the program through 2010. If you need help, be proactive. Nobody’s going to come to you. Go in and find out what your options are.

The American dream is in danger. The idea that each successive generation can do better than the last is fading, but we shouldn’t let it die. Its hard to save when you’re struggling to make ends meet but we should spend our money wisely, on the things that give us the biggest bang for our buck, like our education.