Not only will the upcoming Presidential election have an effect on Shippensburg University students, but the local House election holds great importance as well.
Depending on who is elected in both the national and local elections, it is inevitable that everyone will be impacted in one way or another – but how will SU be affected?
One of the main effects politics will ultimately have on SU students is the cost of education. SU, as a public university, is more affordable that private universities.
This is one of the many reasons students may want to come here. However, with the results of either election, college in general could seem like a challenging feat due to high costs.
President Barack Obama stresses the importance of higher education, guaranteeing a double increase in Pell Grant dollars for students who are financially in need.
Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign promises to refocus these Pell Grants to students who are most in need of them; however Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposes to reduce these grants significantly, which could really hurt students who are dependent on financial aids such as grants.
Looking at Romney’s past, he had also made huge cuts in higher education while governor in Massachusetts.
Ultimately, students who receive financial aid and grants could be severely affected by the results of this election by either not receiving as much aid, or having a higher tuition bill.
Romney has reached out to college students in the past, guaranteeing jobs to those who graduate, so to upper-class students this may be desirable. Obama has promised more jobs in the economy since he was elected in 2008, but unemployment is still higher than most would hope.
Either way, both unemployment and the job market are important issues to look at in this election and the actual outcome cannot be determined yet.
Sones, a 20-year-old political science major, believes that the election could affect SU faculty and staff’s pay rates as well, more than they already have been affected by the Corbett administration.
Another way this election could affect U.S. citizens, including college students, is through healthcare. The future of healthcare in the U.S. is an important subject that both the presidential candidates have stressed in their campaigns.
For college students, they either may not be guaranteed healthcare upon graduation, or instead they may be given a grace period thanks to Obamacare.
Obamacare allows individuals to be on his or her parents’ healthcare plan until the age of 26. This would affect SU students directly because during the period of graduation and finding a job in the “real world,” Obamacare could allow students to still have medical insurance. Under Romney’s watch, Obamacare would be repealed.
Although the presidential election is the one most heavily covered in the media, local elections’ importance cannot be ignored.
Catherine Clay, associate professor of history and philosophy and the adviser of SU’s student group Ship Votes, stresses the importance of the local 89th House election between current State representative Rob Kauffman (Pa. – R) and candidate Susan Spicka (Pa. – D).
Clay saw Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget cuts harm many students who are paying for college themselves, forcing them to work many extra hours and spend less time on school work, therefore letting their grades falter.
“You cannot learn and grow if you are spending all your time working,” Clay said.
Kauffman says he invests in those who create jobs, because he is big on expanding the job market and new businesses in Pennsylvania.
Spicka also stresses the importance of creating jobs, and she focuses on education as well. She wants to keep higher education affordable to any citizen. She also feels there is a need to strengthen the public school system.
Again, the importance of jobs is high for SU students, and the affordability of tuition is important as well for current students and the future of SU.
Although politics show all of these risks toward students, many people believe college students still are not educating themselves enough on elections and their importance.
“There are students who just do not care. They do not have the time and at the end of the day they just do not want to hear it. If you do not want to pay attention to what is going on then you really have no merit to complain when your funding is cut, or your financial aid is cut,” Sones said.
Although this is true for many young adults, Clay and Ship Votes registered about 1,200 SU students to vote this semester.
“I want students to own this election, to listen, to make a decision and stand behind it. And then I want them to experience what happens once they vote. And then they will know that they were a part of that,” Clay said.
The Slate is reaching out to better educate SU students on the election by hosting a student debate this Thursday, Oct. 25 with the college Democrats and college Republicans.
This debate is one of the many efforts by university groups to inform more young adults on how important their votes and education on politics are.