On a rainy Friday afternoon, a bleary-eyed trader is leaving the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with a freshly lit cigarette as another haggard looking man finds the nearest bench to sit and bury his head in his hands after another dreadful day at the office.

With the country’s economic foundations crumbling like a house with termites, students at Fairfield are becoming uneasy about venturing out into a job market that might be slimmer than it has been in recent memory.

‘The economy is going to make things more difficult than it was in the past,’ said John Picyk ’10. ‘I think a lot of it will depend on how things begin to recover after the presidential election.’

The economic crisis the U.S. is currently wading through has been caused primarily by sub-prime mortgages, which were defaulted because citizens were unable to keep up with loan payments. This surge triggered numerous housing foreclosures and sent investment banks that had cut up and sold these mortgages to investors in a very bad situation.

This situation has made companies hesitant to loan money to unqualified patrons, and has made it difficult for students to obtain loans with manageable interest rates.

Director of Financial Aid Erin Chiaro said’ that as of 2006, the national student default loan rate on government loans was 5.2 percent, while Fairfield students defaulted a miniscule 0.6 percent in that same year. He added that Fairfield has been working diligently to help students pay for school with numerous financial aid packages.

‘Fairfield continues to remain deeply committed to helping our students with need despite the current economic conditions and trends,’ he said. ‘Fairfield has increased the financial aid budget by 11 percent over the last year and has assisted over 60 percent of our students with the cost of college.’

For students who receive money toward their education, or to pay their own way to attend Fairfield, the post-college world graduates will step into is widely believed to be severely economically challenged, according to many economic experts.

It might also put an added strain on families whose savings are quickly dwindling during this inflationary period, according to Forbes in a recent article.

‘All families who experience unusual difficulties related to the economy are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid to discuss their situation,’ said Judith Dobai, associate vice president of enrollment management.

‘Fairfield has made a significant investment in the financial aid budget, increasing the budget by 11 percent for 2008-09.’

William Lucas, vice president for finance and administration at Fairfield, said he expects the financial job market will be difficult for at least one more year, but thought the recent credit crunch will have a significant impact only on

students making a large scale purchase, or those without a source of income.
‘Students currently in loan repayment and currently employed should be OK with loan repayment,’ he said. ‘However, if a graduate is at the stage of buying a house it could be more challenging in qualifying for a mortgage.’

Faculty members at the Dolan School of Business agreed that students in the financial sector will find it more difficult to find jobs, but added there will always be places for properly qualified candidate to work.

‘There are fewer jobs in the economy, with some industries more vulnerable than others,’ said Winston Tellis, University information systems professor. ‘Especially now, our liberal arts strength is attractive to organizations that value the flexibility of potential employees.’

Tellis added that it is difficult to project when the economy will right itself because there are so many varying pressures on the country at this point, but maintained that there are jobs for students who are willing to work.

Fairfield management professor Daniel Gibson agreed that the hiring rate of employers is decreasing, but raised a point which might alleviate some graduates’ trepidations about their post collegiate endeavors.

‘When the economy slows, large companies tend to lay off older, more expensive employees, meaning that new opportunities may arise for recent graduates, whose salaries are lower,’ he said.

Gibson also said he believes we are in a ‘long-ish’ economic slump that might take three to four years to correct itself.

Alumni currently in the workplace and working to pay off the loans they accumulated said they are not necessarily feeling the pressure of the faltering economy, but also don’t expect to see any kind of pay increase in the near future.

‘It’s going to take me around five years to pay off my loans,’ said Stephanie Lauto ’08. ‘I was lucky to land a job but some of my friends still haven’t been able to land with a company since they graduated. Things are definitely tough in the current economy.’

Ben Doody ’07 who graduated with about $18,000 in loans said he was able to pay the loans right away, but still said his bank account is suffering mainly due to the high price of gas.

‘I have a job, and I know that my job is relatively secure.’ he said. ‘Due to the cost of fuel my bank account is suffering, and with the state of the market, I don’t believe I will be seeing any substantial pay increase anytime soon.’

Despite the doomsday mentality portrayed often in the media, many Fairfield administrators believe student looking for and paying off loans will not be affected as long as they do not build up any kind of sizeable debt and that the jobs will be there for Fairfield grads.

‘There are still jobs available, even in today’s market,’ said Gibson. ‘Don’t give up searching for employment. The people who get jobs are the ones who want it more than you do.’

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.