MTV recently launched a new Facebook app, My College Dollars, aimed at reducing the increasing amount of national college student debt. Complete with application and financial aid information, motivational videos, and other resources, the app uses students' Facebook profile data to determine the best financial approach toward a higher education.
Perhaps MTV is launching this initiative only for good press, but nonetheless, the widespread influence MTV has on the millennial generation makes it a great platform to fight against rising college debt.
It is encouraging to high school and college students to see a mainstream media source finally tackling the previously unaddressed issue of student debt. Since the financial crisis of 2008, college students have amassed over $1 trillion in student debt, the largest amount of consumer debt in the nation. MTV’s choice to engage in an important social and economic issue integral to its young viewers is admirable.
Although the videos, aid, and advice offered by MTV’s app may not be better than those offered by alternative websites with the same intent, the widely viewed network boasts a viewership demographic of 18- to 24-year-olds, proving its superior influence on youngsters regarding college acceptance and financial aid.
The collaboration with Facebook also better integrates aspects of social media into MTV's network, a way to connect more deeply with millennials. Targeting social media as a forum for change will impact today's students more than ever.
There may be concerns that the app infringes on the privacy of users, as it accesses a user's race, gender, age, location, and other personal information to make educational choices. However, the scholastic benefit attained from this localized information access far outweighs privacy concerns. Additionally, young people have adopted other social media apps that access private information.
Despite publicity stunt and privacy concerns, MTV’s admirable campaign to increase higher education and decrease alarming amounts of student debt should be encouraged and made an example of. If other large entertainment networks followed MTV’s lead, we would perhaps find a faster resolution to our nation’s student debt conundrum.
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