San Jose State University holds multiple commencement ceremonies this week, some graduates worried about Bay Area cost of living

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Thursday, May 23, 2019
As 7,000 SJSU students graduate, many wonder cost of living
About 7,000 San Jose State University students are graduating in 2019.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- We all know the Bay Area is thriving economically, but many soon-to-be college graduates are wondering whether or not they'll be able to afford the region's overall cost of living once they earn their degrees.

ABC7 News was at the San Jose State University Event Center Wednesday morning for the first of seven commencement ceremonies to be held over the next three days.

"You now possess a newfound power like our favorite comic book super heroes. With the power comes responsibility, (but) before you deploy your new powers, you have to decide how you're going to use them and whether they will be used for the greater good," said San Jose State University President Mary Papazian in her address to this year's College of Science graduates.

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According to SJSU, the average loan debt for undergraduate students is $15,000 after graduation. Nearly half of this year's graduating class already have jobs lined up, but there's still uncertainty for some.

"It'd be nice to stay here and contribute to the booming legacy of the Silicon Valley, but you know, the cost of living is just so high," said SJSU graduate Daniel Digiacomo.

Despite the challenge, roughly 70% of graduates are expected to remain in the Bay Area.

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"There is a sense that there is an obligation that once students are out of school and have graduated, to do right by their families. So they are saving, they are taking excellent jobs, and they are living very modestly, in order to accommodate that," said Prof. Colleen Haight, chair of the SJSU economics department.

For many of these students, graduation is a chance to reflect on their accomplishments as they look ahead to the future.

"I want to do strength and conditioning. I want to work with athletes... just teach people, getting them stronger, quicker, in the sport they love," said SJSU graduate Marco Cervantes.

More than 6,800 graduates make up the SJSU Spring 2019 class.