Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Letter to the editor: Student Debt

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Courtesy of Lucas Gutterman

(Courtesy of Lucas Gutterman)

To the editor:

In recent years, the problem of student debt has become a highly prevalent one, with the current average hovering around $30,000 per student. Naturally, this is an issue of major concern to our demographic as college students; student loans impose a long-term burden on our collective economic future as a generation. Despite the fact that not every student will be saddled with an overwhelming mountain of debt, most of us at least know someone who is affected by the issue to a degree. This is the biggest the student debt problem has ever been.

That said, this is also the most politically visible the issue has been thus far. Candidates are finally starting to engage in conversations about the affordability of higher education and acknowledging that it needs to be addressed. It has grown too important for everyone to continue ignoring it, and the discussion has been rapidly expanding.

Incidentally, this is also the first time a lot of us will be old enough to vote and to have our voices heard in a way that affects tangible change. It is therefore extremely important that we inform ourselves on the issues and exercise the political power that we now have. In order to assert our influence on the governmental system under which we live, we need to develop our opinions and take action accordingly.

In light of the upcoming election, the UMass chapter of MASSPIRG conducted a panel on the issue of student debt and the validity of candidates’ proposed policies to address it. It took place on Tuesday, Oct. 27. There was a discussion of the proposed policies of leading presidential candidates and students collectively voted to grade each candidate’s policies. The event also featured economics professor Dr. David Kotz discussing changes in higher education since the 1970s. Following the discussion, students tweeted each candidate their report card.

The following GOP candidates were discussed and graded as follows: Donald Trump, F; Dr. Ben Carson, F; Marco Rubio, C. Democratic candidates fared better; Secretary Hillary Clinton received a B and Senator Bernie Sanders was given an A.

Our generation has a frustratingly well-established reputation for apathy. As “millennials,” we have already been branded with the stereotype of being politically uninvolved and chronically disinterested with anything but our phones. However, that is largely not our reality. We care far more than older generations think we do, and we have more control than we probably realize.

Of course, we still have quite some time before the election takes place, but now is a good time to participate in the conversation and join the movement to solve student debt in the years to come.

 

Arianna Lewis

[email protected]

Legal Studies major

Class of 2018

1 Comment

One Response to “Letter to the editor: Student Debt”

  1. Rob on October 30th, 2015 7:51 am

    Students need to be smarter about taking out loans. There’s lots of ways to get a college education at a reasonable cost. Commuting is an option that could save a lot of money. Or going to a community college for 2 years first. Take an extra class here and there and graduate a semester early. Also, students need to be realistic with the salaries their major can expect. It’s not worth going into a lot of debt for many majors that have no chance of paying well in the real world.

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