Loyola provost discusses effects of election on students
Posted by matthewtgillis on November 1, 2012
By Matt Gillis
Provost John Pelissero of Loyola University Chicago spoke Wednesday afternoon about how the election of either candidate in the 2012 presidential election will shape the future for today’s college students.
Jeannette Pierce, librarian director at Loyola, hosted The Presidential Election: How the Outcome Will Affect College Students, a discussion as part of Loyola’s Flash Seminars series, which was held in Room 317 of the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons at Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus for a crowd of 20.
Pelissero began the discussion by questioning the effectiveness of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney’s plans toward financing education.
“If we don’t want to expand student grants, where should we get the money?” Pelissero said. “When it comes to college, Obama favors an increase in Pell Grants. Romney also favors support for students, but believes an increase in federal loans causes tuition increase.”
Pelissero pointed out the drawbacks of increasing federal loans and grants for students.
“Students are taking out more loans than they can pay back,” Pelissero said. “They are attending universities, taking out loans to finance their education, and dropping out without a degree. How are students going to earn enough money to pay off loans without having a degree?”
Pelissero predicted the level of focus that will be on higher education if either candidate is to be elected.
“I think there will be more scrutiny on higher education if Obama or Romney is elected,” Pelissero said. “Schools will be held more accountable for their performance in a way that mimics the No Child Left Behind Act. The government wants universities to offer degrees that, when a student graduates, will allow him or her to get a job.”
Pelissero discussed ways to improve the economy, stating that he believes our next president needs to have an active role in boosting our financial situation.
“We’re arguably in the worst economic position we have been in since the Great Depression,” Pelissero said. “While Republicans believe letting the government regulate itself will allow it to bounce back, I don’t think it will. We would be in a much worse situation today if the past presidents hadn’t done things for the economy.”
The discussion included questions and answers from the audience.
One student, Patrick Lawler, 18, a freshman and psychology major, found the seminar to be politically eye opening.
“I learned that there are several issues in the future of politics,” Lawler said. “But I learned more about the predictions and possibilities for how each candidate can solve the problems facing today’s college students.”
“Today’s seminar, as well as the others, allow students to engage with faculty outside of the classroom,” Pierce said after the event. “Students can only take so many courses, but there’s so much more to learn. These flash seminars create an opportunity for students to do so.”