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Jobs, financial aid top student voters' concerns


The News Star - October 30, 2012

Improving the job market and protectingfinancial aid are two of the biggest issues in the upcoming presidential election for many area college students.

With graduation on the horizon, some students are wondering if and when they will land their first post-graduation job in today’s economy.

Lillian Bobo, a 22-year-old senior at Grambling State University, said she has concerns about launching her career after she graduates.

“I’m just hoping there are job opportunities out there for me when I graduate,” she said.

That’s why Bobo said she will enroll in graduate school right after she completes her undergraduate degree in political science.

“With the way the economy is now, a bachelor’s degree is like a high school diploma. More education is required to get a better job,” she said. “That’s a large concern of mine in this election. Who’s going to do the most for the job market?”
Pacific Tuyishime, a 24-year-old political science senior at GSU, said he, too, has concern about being able to find a job after graduation.

He said today’s job market is a lot tougher than it used to be, especially for those in the liberal arts fields.

“We have less options, and it’s very possible that I’m going to have to find a job outside of my field,” he said. “What I’m paying attention to the most in this election is who can grow the economy better and increase jobs.”

For other college students, ensuring the continuance of financial aid offerings is a top concern in this election.

Ashlee Copper, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, said she was interested in finding the candidate who prioritized financial aid for college students, so more people can have access to higher education and therefore be more likely to find a better job.

“I wouldn’t be here without financial aid,” she said. “And without an education, how do you get a job?”

Kim Roque, a 19-year-old sophomore at ULM, also uses financial aid, and she hopes that whoever wins the upcoming election can continue and strengthen financial aid programs such as the federal Pell grants.

Roque said financial aid plays a crucial role in her access to college education, considering her mother soon will have three children in college at one time.

Student loans and debt repayment also should top a student’s list of issues, said Joshua Stockley, political science professor at ULM.

Stockley said it’s important for college-age voters to be informed during this election, particularly about the policies that will directly affect them.

“Statistics are telling us many people don’t care to register, don’t care to inform themselves and don’t care to vote,” he said. “You have the ability to pick an individual who will determine the amount of debt you’re carrying, the interest rates on those debts and how you will pay those debts off over time.

Bobo said she will be voting in the November election, and she hopes more people her age do so, as well.

She said she will be voting for the candidate she feels will create the best educational and job opportunities.

“I feel it’s important because it affects us all. Some of mycolleagues don’t have any interest in politics at all, but this decision will impact our everyday lives,” she said.

Tuyishime said he can see why some people may find it difficult to follow politics when so much conflicting information is swirling around and everything seems so polarized between party lines.

But he said more young people should get informed on the issues and make an effort to get out to the voting booth this year because he believes there’s a lot at stake.

“This election will have real consequences on people’s lives,” he said. “We might actually have an impact.”