IHAVE RECENTLY come to discover that my academic advancements are being limited as a result of our worsening economy.

I am currently a student at one of the most populated and diverse universities in the country and I am becoming increasingly displeased with the amount of privileges being revoked due to the limits on our economy. I more than understand that our country is in a time of economic crisis, and with that said, my problem lies in the severe prioritizing issues of Americans.

CNN reported that each shopper on black Friday of 2008 spent an average of $360.15; this number is up 18.9 percent from last year's spending. How is it justifiable that while America dives into rescission, our Christmas budgets increase and student benefits decrease? When the opportunities of the American youth's education begin to diminish, Americans severely need to begin a re-evaluation process in prioritizing.

In a culture where both materialistic advantages and higher education are strong values, there has come a point when the emphasis must be placed on one; apparently the wrong one is being emphasized. Is society forgetting that the base for being able to afford a lavish lifestyle is a strong educational background? By cutting back on college opportunities such as the hiring of intelligent new professors, continuation of construction, funding for the arts and clubs and study abroad programs, ultimately we are cutting back on the opportunities of our future generations.

The average American student is in college for only four years. To take what is supposed to be a monumental four years of a student's life and place restrictions on the opportunities they deserve to receive, colleges are not only hurting themselves but continuing the downward spiral of our economy.

Kaytlynn Gorson, Philadelphia