Just wanted to give a plug for this petition to forgive student loan debt. As of this post, they have 651,273 of their 655,000 signature goal.
A great deal has changed both in my personal life and in the discussion around student loans since I last posted. I am now in a line of work that will not only allow me the time needed to actively maintain this blog but even has some overlap in content/duties. This, combined with the ever-growing attention being paid to the student loan crisis fueled by things such as the new Obama debt plan and the Occupy movement, has convinced me that I need to get this blog up and running again and re-dedicate myself to telling the stories of how student loans are crippling the life goals of an entire generation. It’s good to be back.
A little over a year ago, I stopped posting to this blog due to personal issues and a career change that required a significant time commitment. Recently, I decided to check on the blog and discovered that even with no new posts, I continue to receive a significant number of hits. Clearly, student loans and their accompanying problems remain a significant issues, and now that my schedule is more regular, I’ve decided that it’s time to get this back up and running. So, thank you to my readers, and I’m happy to announce that I’m back, and you can expect regular posts from here on out!
A University of Michigan law student who needed extra money for tuition and couldn’t get a loan because of the credit crunch has been charged with soliciting sex for money on Craigslist. From the Ann Arbor News:
The student told police she was advertising sex acts online via Craigslist to help pay tuition costs. For an in-state student, U-M Law School tuition is $41,500 a year; out-of-state students pay $44,500.
But the creepiest thing about this story is that the prostitution came to light after she accused one of her clients, Yaron Eliav – who just happens to be an associate professor in Michigan’s Department of Near Eastern Studies – with assault. Since this blog is focused solely on student loan issues, I won’t go into the salacious details here, but if so inclined, you can read them for yourselves at the links above.
I think this is the most depressing story I’ve yet seen since the economic crisis really started hitting the news a few months ago. NJ.com reports that NJ Class Loans, a state-sponsored lending agency, will now require new borrowers to make student loan payments while they are still attending classes:
The state agency overseeing more than $1 billion in college financial aid will no longer allow students to defer payments until after graduation — a move that could affect thousands of students at a time when it is getting increasingly difficult to secure loans elsewhere.
I have heard of private loan companies doing this, but I’ve never yet seen this done in a loan program sponsored by the government, and I think it’s appalling. I worked between 10 and 30 hours a week nearly every semester I was in college plus sometimes as many as 50 hours a week during the summers, and I never would have been able to make it if I’d had to make loan payments while in school. My work money paid for rent, and books, and food. I don’t know what kind of money college students are making in the minds of these policy-makers, but when I was in school you were considered very lucky if you found something a dollar or two above the minimum wage. I think a lot of people are going to wind up dropping out of college if this becomes a trend. Very sad.
The Associated Press is reporting that Obama will name CEO of the Chicago Public Schools Arne Duncan as his choice for Secretary of Education on Tuesday morning:
Duncan has run the country’s third-biggest school district for the past seven years. He has focused on improving struggling schools, closing those that fail. Obama highlighted this work by choosing for the announcement a turnaround story for Duncan — Dodge Renaissance Academy, a school Duncan closed and then reopened.
Duncan is a 1987 graduate of Harvard, magna cum laude, who played professional basketball in Australia for four years before returning to the United States to direct the Ariel Education Initiative, which focused on increasing educational opportunities for inner-city youth. Apparently, Duncan is popular with both the pro-No Child Left Behind faction and the teachers’ unions.
Well, I’m a little disappointed. I was hoping, in spite of indications to the contrary, that Obama would appoint someone whose major focus was reforming higher education. I did find this quote from Duncan on the Huffington Post, in which he mentions student loans:
“Oh, there are lots of challenges and, obviously, huge opportunities,” Duncan said. “I think there’s a huge amount of work that has to go on on the early childhood side. There’s a huge amount you’ve got to do in the K to 12 sector. And higher ed, particularly the student loans, presents some huge, huge challenges.”
Not exactly a call to arms, and he could easily be talking about access to loans during the credit crunch rather than more radical reforms decreasing the necessity of huge debt loads for college students, but I will hold out hope until I’m proven wrong. More as this one develops.
Writer Magdalene Perez has a great op-ed piece in The Stamford Advocate describing her student loan debt – about $57,000 that she expects to be paying on until she is 50 years old. Things ain’t how they used to be, she claims. Talking about her grandparents:
Having a simple business degree instantly changed their lives. Joe got a job at a tire company in Minnesota, and with just one income he supported his family, which quickly grew to include four kids. In less than six years, the family had enough money to buy a house, which they quickly traded for a larger one.
Magdalene sees a bleaker picture for her own generation: Read more…