This election, whether you agree with President Obama or your representative or not, it is worth voting. It is worth expressing your opinion. As a college student, you may think that you do not have that much of a stake in the economy. After all, the future is still years away. Over the past two years, two issues affect millions of college students directly. If it does not affect you directly, it most certainly affects some one in your dorm, in your class or at your school.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act, which gives parents the right to add their children (married or unmarried) onto their company insurance plan until 27 years of age. On March 27, 2010, President Obama signed the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, which reallocated $61 billion bank subsidies to Pell Grants and other education initiatives. This has increased the maximum Pell grant award from $5,000 to $5,500 in 2010-2011, and will steadily increase it to $5,975 by 2017.
President Obama and Vice President Biden promised to make change on these issues on their campaigns, but they most certainly did not do this alone. http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/issues/CollegeAffordabilityFactSheet.pdf They worked with or fought against all 535 members in Congress, both Senators and Representatives. Each member had a vote. President Obama and Vice President Biden are not up for election this November, but many members of Congress are standing. Every one in the House of Representatives serves for 2 years and is up for re-election. Members of the Senate serve for 6 years and some are up for re-election.
You may think that more money needs to be allocated to education. Your university is really struggling. There are cut backs everywhere. Conversely, you may think that the government should not allocate so much money to Pell Grants because so many people in college should not be attending school. You are entitled to an opinion.
To some students, a Pell Grant means a great deal. A few hundred dollars in grant money might not be important. He or she might be able to get a loan to cover the amount, but it could mean that he or she does not have to spend hundreds of hours working at the student store, or delivering pizzas. In addition, if there is less money for Pell Grants, in a need-based, fixed-resource system, your scholarship could be reallocated. Whether it affects you personally or not, you can be sure that it affects someone at your dorm, in your class and most certainly in your school.
You might think that government has no business mandating health care insurance. You are at the healthiest age in your life, and you might be able to do without the insurance. Chances are you will not need the help, but if you are thinking about a non-profit job that would benefit the community or your resume for graduate school, it might not come with health care insurance. Whether you can find a job or not when you graduate from college may affect whether you need to get back on your parents’ insurance plan. If you get into an accident or have a preexisting condition, you may matter. Whatever your opinion, you can be sure that it matters.
You may not think that President Obama is right, or your representative is right, but you should express your opinion. You might not think that this country can afford more Pell Grants or health care insurance, or you could see how these the new legislation really benefits those around you. Either way, as a citizen of this country, you are entitled and should express your opinion. It does affect you and those around you.
It might not seem like a big deal, but what if your date last week could not afford to attend college, or your fraternity brother had to drop out or had to work on a weekend night. About one quarter of college students need and receive Pell grants. Chances are that it affects someone close to you. That is certainly something to think about.
Whether you vote or not, one thing is for sure. President Obama and Vice President Biden will have to work with or fight against 535 members of Congress after the election over the next two years. It may not be as important as Pell Grants and health care insurance, but you should have a say in who makes the decisions for you on what issues are important.