14 Percent Of College Students Are Learning Economics Through Homelessness
It’s a somewhat common complaint about the United States education system, especially around tax season, that there should be more emphasis on basic personal economics and money management. What people forget when they advocate for this, though, is that college in the United States already comes with some baked-in economic learning opportunities. Like the opportunity to begin feeling the crushing weight of personal debt, the process of feeding yourself for a week off of 24 US dollars, and the woeful inadequacy of minimum wage provided by the campus coffee shop.
Now, thanks to skyrocketing rent prices and a stall in expansion of campus housing, college students are also getting a chance to learn another valuable adult skill: fulfilling all your work obligations while also constantly worried about keeping a roof over your head! An annual survey conducted on student needs showed that in 2020, roughly half of students experienced housing insecurity, which generally means missing bills, not being able to pay bills in full, and 14% of students at both 2 and 4 year universities had experienced homelessness. Just over 1 in 10 college students experiencing homelessness… that’s the spirit of American industriousness, my friend!
All this got me thinking, what other financial weight can we put on students’ shoulders, in order to teach them to more effectively pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc. Here are a couple suggestions:
Replace all campus public transit options with new UberEDU cars. Don’t worry, with a valid student ID, each ride is 10% cheaper than standard Uber, and earns you Starbucks reward points! This also creates jobs for other students, who can both earn almost no money AND be educated on predatory automobile lease agreements AND massive 25-40% self-employed income tax.
A new campus health initiative requires students to eat healthy lunches in order to increase brainpower! During lunch hours, the only restaurants that are open are places that serve $16 grilled chicken and arugula salad.
Textbooks now operate on a paywall system. You can read 1 chapter a week for free, but then must purchase or rent individual chapters. Physical textbooks will be available at the library, on retracting chains with credit card terminals. If students are found sharing textbook accounts they will be expelled in order to build character.
Water fountains deliver unoptimized water with zero minerals for brain activity. Thankfully, we have worked out a deal with Coca-Cola to provide smartwater vending machines across campus. This is better hydration, because it comes from clouds or something, well worth $3 a bottle!
Students will now need to purchase a ticket for their own graduation. If they are unwilling or unable to purchase a ticket, they are free to purchase a ticket to any following year’s graduation in order to complete college.
After all, the value of a good education can’t be quantified. So no matter how much colleges charge you, you’ll pay it, you little piggy!