By Rachel Popa
Chances are, if you are breathing and were born between 1980 and 2000, you have been labeled an “entitled” millennial.
As a millennial, it always comes as a shock to hear that I am “entitled” because nothing about my current situation in life points to that being true. In a report done by the Council of Economic Advisors, it was said that the oldest members of the millennial generation were just 27 years-old when the Great Recession hit in 2007.
Therefore, many millennials have had to start their careers and independent lives amidst the worst economic crisis this country has seen in decades. To add insult to injury, young people today make $2,000 less than young adults did in 1980, according the U.S. Census Bureau.
Adding even more salt to the wound is the fact that millennials are earning less even though they are the most educated generation in history, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. As I am sure my fellow college students can attest, a higher education is a necessity in today’s economy, and an expensive one at that.
Currently, there is about $1.2 trillion in student loan debt owed by college graduates, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Individually, that comes to about $26,000 in debt shouldered by a recent college grad. Even with how expensive it is to go to college today, according to the Pew Research Center, if you choose not to go, you will be making about half as much as someone with a college degree.
But, according to our naysayers, millennials expect the world to be given to us on a silver platter without really earning it. Just ask the students who will be graduating this year how entitled they feel when the repayments for their student loans are due, whether or not they have a job six months after graduation.
Perhaps the whole “entitled” sentiment originates from political candidates like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton advocating for free public college. Well, when the astronomical cost of necessary college tuition sinks millennials who only want to start their careers into almost inescapable debt, the prospect of tuition-free college does not seem that radical of an idea.
After all, we are just trying to get ahead and carve us out a slice of the American Dream—an idea that people in older generations like to hit home any chance they can.
When all is said and done, in an economy where the cost of a higher education is rising faster than inflation, the only people who are entitled are the loan servicers millennials will be repaying their student loan debt to.