Many students come to Fordham expecting to start a life in New York City, but this dream is more difficult to realize than some might expect. The cost of living in New York City has left many residents struggling. Extending our stay in New York beyond our four years of schooling is far from a given, considering current circumstances.
According to a study conducted by The New York Times and Sienna College, over half of New York City residents are seriously struggling economically. These residents are either barely getting by or struggling to do so with their current household income. Three out of five Brooklyn and Bronx residents are struggling to make ends meet and 36 percent of Bronx residents say that there have been times within the past year when they did not have the money to buy enough food for their families.
It is hard to have a positive outlook on the prospects of leading a comfortable life, or even semi-comfortable life, in New York City after our four years at Fordham University are up, considering the struggle that current residents are going through. New York City may be our campus at the present, but for many, it will not be home in the near future.
We must consider the starting salaries of new graduates when thinking about a life in New York City after college. A new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, a nonprofit organization that provides career service help, found that students who graduated from college in the class of 2014 earned a median starting salary of $45,478. According to The New York Times and Siena College study, nearly half of the residents making under $50,000 a year said that the availability of goods and services that meet their needs is only fair to poor. When comparing these numbers, it is hard to picture ourselves thriving in New York City anytime soon — especially when taking into account the number of graduates struggling to find jobs straight out of college.
Most students do not have a job lined up for them upon graduation. About 83 percent of the class of 2014 graduating seniors in the US said that they did not have a job lined up as of April of 2014. This makes it impossible for students to support themselves without outside monetary support. In addition to current living costs, a considerable number of students leave college with student loan debt, which could extend the ability to live without outside support at all, let alone in New York City.
For years, it has been common to move back into our parents houses after graduating college, mainly due to not being immediately employed and not having enough money to live independently. A good portion of Fordham’s commuters and in-state attendees potentially have the opportunity to move home after school and still have access to New York City. These students, upon graduation, can commute to the city for work in order to save money to eventually move out and can still enjoy the benefits of living near New York. Although this is not an ideal situation, it offers additional opportunities that are not present for all. These opportunities are not available for out of state and international students. Without outside support, life in New York City can be difficult, and many Fordham students may have no or few choices other than moving out of New York after graduation.
Even though living in New York City without a large budget is extremely tough, it is not impossible. Certain neighborhoods, such as those in Northern Queens, the South Bronx and East Brooklyn, are more affordable than others and having roommates can cut the price of rent. Still, this would only be applicable if one has a steady income, which many recent graduates do not.
Overall, the assumption that attending Fordham will be the start of a fruitful life in New York City is not always a feasible one. Fordham students who desire a life in New York City should have hope, but should also seriously temper their expectations because it most likely will take some time.
Jaclyn Weiner, FCRH ’18, is a communication and media studies major from Wantagh, New York.