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college loan forgiveness

I'm wondering - am I the only one beyond irritated by the whinging over unrepayable student loans?

Granted, I'm feeling pretty grouchy tonight for some reason, and so maybe this is a non-issue. Or an issue but one I wouldn't bother blogging about usually. And maybe it's an issue for me because I live and work in academia, but isn't really significant to most other people. But in the last few weeks I've seen Obama touting his student loan reforms; several blog posts and news articles; and of course all the signs at Zuccotti Park. (I approve of their cause of bringing more attention to the staggering inequality in this country, and so have been baking brownies and taking them down to their care-teams about twice a week.)

It's not just irritation at the over-exposure, though. I find myself genuinely angry at the people who complain about the $115k they've racked up in loans to get their BFA from Sarah Lawrence (or my own school; one of our students was among the profiled in a recent Times article), who now want those loans forgiven. I think a lot of it is jealousy, because there was a time that I wanted to go to a private school (a few had caught my eye) but I was living in NC which had a great public university system. So I became one of the numbered throng. I got a great education with very little debt, and I don't regret the decision. But I wonder whether my outlook would be different, whether it would feel like I really belong at Fordham, and whether I would have the undergraduate liberal arts background that I think would make me fit like I fit in more, if I'd gone to Duke or its like. I decided not to, largely because I crunched the numbers and realized I didn't want a college education that I felt like I was mortgaged up to my eyes to afford - but I think on some level I still am jealous of those people who took the plunge, and are now asking for a do-over.

This is particularly frustrating given the state of public university funding - I want to scream that you don't need to forgive extravagant amounts of loans, you need to give that money to public schools. My impulse is that a college student should be able to figure out their loan burdens, and I find myself alternately rolling my eyes or seeing red (and not of the balance-sheet variety) over it. But I don't like that. It reminds me how Americans have been much more resistant to Main Street bailouts over Wall Street bailouts and has me thinking: jealousy of people who are at least roughly on my level but slightly better off in some ways is a stronger hatred than whatever I feel toward Wall Street tycoons. That might explain a lot about the American psychology. Or at least about mine.

Incidentally, in case it's not clear: I'm not proud of this reaction. In fact, I'm pretty embarrased by it. But it's the truth of how I feel, and so I thought I'd try to lay it out.


P.S. - I've noticed less comments lately, and I'd be interested to know why. I'm not sure whether things have gotten too complicated since I moved from LJ to here (too hard to comment, technically), or if it's that half the time I don't find the energy to comment back or comment on other peoples' blogs so I've broken their trust or if the topics just aren't interesting. I'm not trying to criticize anyone, honestly! But I would like to know if there's a specific situation I can help with.

I have actually thought about migrating back to LJ. But I get spam there regularly. Having someone graffiti up my living room (which is what it feels like) is insulting and frustrating, and getting a paid subscription with a company that would allow this much spam brings on a major case of DO. NOT. WANT. But I also feel like I've made things difficult for everyone else, and so I'm not really sure what to do. :-S *hugs to all*

This entry was originally posted at http://fidesquaerens.dreamwidth.org/15503.html. Please comment there using OpenID.



Oct. 27th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
Thanks for all those links! I shall have to check them out.

Re: education in general, I have a lot of thoughts on this and hope to do a full post on this - after I get my lecture notes for tomorrow written, grocery shopping done, important email written, etc. We'll see if I get to it today! Anyway, I agree with you about the false premise thing except that it's not really so false. Based on the numbers I've seen on income with vs. without a bachelor's degree, it seems that going to college really is a requirement for a middle-class (or even non-poverty) lifestyle. The problem is that there's this unspoken agreement, that if you do go to college you will get the middle-class lifestyle, and at twenty-two. That is a big part of the problem.

I think your kids are lucky to have such a wise mum!



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