Local grads face uncertain job & cash prospects

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Universities and Colleges across the Tri-state will set records or near records for graduates in a single year.

Graduating students from several local colleges and universities will have an opportunity to walk across the stage in coming the weeks as they get degrees and certificates recognizing their achievements.

While many will face an uncertain job market, commencement ceremonies are a time of celebration and looking forward to what's possible.

Thousands of people will be graduating from their college or university ready for that next step of life.

But unfortunately there is a blast of reality that accompanies the completion of four years (for some it may be more) of all-nighters and comprehensive finals.

The state of the U.S. economy is apparently not dampening students and graduates' attitude toward their job prospects.

The number of employed 20 to 24-year-olds increased by 366,000 from March 2011 through last month, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

So who is graduating when here in the Tri-state?  Check out the list below.

Miami University of Ohio
Saturday, May 5th 1:30pm

Northern Kentucky University
Sunday, May 6th 11:00am

Xavier University
Saturday, May 12th 9:00am

College of Mount St. Joseph
Saturday, May 12th 2:30pm

Cincinnati State
Saturday, June 24th 3:00pm

University of Cincinnati
Friday, June 8th 2:00pm

Saturday, June 9th
9:00am & 2:00pm

So what about college debt?

In the United States, student loan debt tops $1 trillion.  That is more money than people owe on credit cards.

With a sluggish economy, more people are heading back to college, we've been reporting this for years.  To do so however, they take out more loans and rack up more debt.

What the students probably aren't thinking about is the thousands of dollars they have taken out to get to where they are at and how on earth they are going to pay it back.

Here's a crazy thought...it would take more than 16 years to pay off $100,000 in debt if you paid off $500 every month.

In addition, 200 student body presidents representing over 2.5 million college students released a letter today, calling on Congress to begin addressing the overall increase in student debt by preventing interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling this summer.

For every year Congress fails to act, most college students will incur $1,000 more debt at a time when student debt and youth unemployment are at an all-time high.

The letter, started by the current and incoming Tulane University student body presidents, calls on Congressional leaders to "make a serious commitment to fix how we finance college in America," starting with bipartisan action to maintain current student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent.

With one out of every two college graduates unemployed or underemployed and the average student graduating with over $25,000 in debt, student leaders across the country have been quick to call on President Obama and Congressional leaders to prevent student debt from increasing even further.

"It's about young consumers," said Andy MacCracken, Associate Director of the National Campus Leadership Council. "The amount of debt we're accumulating just to get through school seriously threatens our generation's prosperity."

The letter urges Congress to save Stafford interest rates as the first of many comprehensive steps to reduce the amount of debt students and their families have to take on.

"Ultimately, we need bold, bipartisan steps to address the systemic problems that are driving up the cost of college. That conversation needs to start now," the presidents said in the letter.

The signature drive is being organized by the National Campus Leadership Council. The letter will remain open to all current college student body presidents for signature until a bipartisan bill is signed into law.

To view the letter and see which college student body presidents have signed on, go to http://www.nationalcampusleaders.org/debt or see below.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.