Saturday, April 23, 2011

Needed: Debt Relief for Youth

War Against the Young: Recent Graduates

Not Only Move Back Home, But Stay There

By Amanda M Fairbanks
Progressive America Rising via Huffington Post

NEW YORK, April 22, 2011 -- Ashley Moore never planned on moving back in with her parents.

Nearly a year after graduating from college, Moore, 22, also never expected to still be waking up in her old twin bed every morning.

“It’s been difficult because not only was I on my own, I was really far away,” explains Moore, a St. Louis, Mo., native who graduated from Pace University in New York City. At one point, she spent an entire year away. “What I miss most is my freedom and having my own space.”

Like many 20-somethings, Moore is experiencing what it’s like to not only move back home, but stay there.

Despite a recent report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which predicts that 2011 graduates may enter into an improved job market, many remain skeptical.

Andrew Sum, an economist at Northeastern University, concedes that while “it’s better to be plus than minus, we’ve still got a really long way to go until we restore things back to the way they used to be.”

Sum calls it the war against the young. Specifically, he's seen a record number of college graduates forced to move home.

Using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sum reports that 12.8 million college graduates under the age of 30 are either unemployed, working part-time or working at a job that doesn’t require a college degree.

Such jobs can make it difficult for young people to establish a steady stream of income -- to get the money required to not only move out of their parents' house, but stay out.

Further, Sum finds that young adults without a college degree have been pushed out of the labor market entirely and are finding work at a lower rate than anytime since the end of World War II.

“The kids not working today will have a difficult time working tomorrow,” concludes Sum. “The evidence is overwhelming.”

Since moving back home last June, Moore has been unsuccessful in securing a full-time job. She works part-time as a teaching assistant at a nearby pre-school. Her mother is an in vitro technician; her father owns a small carpentry business.

For others forced into a similar situation, Moore stresses that communication is key to making the living arrangement work as best it can.

“Your parents might regress and start treating you like you’re back in high school because, well, you’re back in their house.” Moore also advises to save, not spend. “Just because you’re not paying rent, doesn’t mean it’s a good time to go shopping.”

The financial burden of going to college has always been her own. Moore is carrying $45,000 in undergraduate student loans and another $5,000 of debt split between two credit cards. Each month, she puts $250 of her part-time paycheck toward paying each of them down.

Moore wants to attend law school and someday run for political office. In the meantime, she is keen on first getting her own apartment.

Recently, Moore set a new deadline for herself: Come August, her goal is to finally be out from under her parents’ roof.

“I know they love me, but it’s time for me to go,” says Moore. “I just hope that I can.”

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