The Student Loan Crisis CAN Be Fixed,
It Will Just Take Some Extra Work
It’s not new news that attending a college or university will leave the students pockets light of cash and their debt even heavier. The cost of tuition and expenses that go along with living the life of a college student are through the roof and are only getting more expensive. This leaves little room for comfort upon graduation and the beginning of student debt payments. The next step after graduation is finding a loan payment plan that will work with the student’s finances. This is where the issue comes about.
Haley Garberg was making 22 thousand dollars per year and was given a payment plan that was $700 per month. Hew salary was not enough to live off of even before the steep monthly payment for her education. This was given to her based on her salary, which is in the bottom 25th percentile of all United States salaries. No payment plans are flawless, but the one that seems like it would best benefit the former students often is a nightmare in disguise. Income Based Repayment is broken and if fixed, could significantly help the crisis at hand in the United States.
The Federal Student Aid of the United States Department of Education has plans in place to customize a payment plan based on the borrower, but does not look further than what is on the surface. Nothing is taken into account other than the annual salary of the borrower. This is where the problem stems, because they fail to realize that people and areas across the country are different. On average, four years of college equates to 15 years of payments. Moreover, the income based repayment plans are not offered to just anyone, but only select applicants. Making income based repayment of student debt more widely available would surely help fix the problem at hand.
Living in New York City is obviously more expensive than living in a small town in the midwest, so figuring plans for income based repayment of student loans should also incorporate cost of living. The average salary of people living in tristate area is higher than the average salary of the midwestern states, rooting from the cost of living. Also, the companies should not take into account the “luxuries” of living, for example an unlimited phone plan or a brand new cell phone every two years. Instead, the companies should create a base amount for expenses that do not vary between states. By basing the monthly payments off of not only how much the person’s salary is, but also how much it costs to live in these areas, this would allow for both people to live more comfortably and have a plan that is right for both of them. The big companies who are in charge of setting up these plans need to start doing this and the time is now.
If a plan like this were to be put into place then young Americans who are newly on their own two feet will be able to become integral parts of society and the economy. Dreams of becoming active members of society and obtaining a financially stable life are out of reach when they do not have to be. Having children is another area that can be crossed off the list for graduates out of college simply because it would cost too much money to support a child. The debt accumulated by students forces then to often times live with their parents at home instead of living alone or with a significant other.
Your work on the Portfolio version certainly showed improvement, Andrew, but the end result was still a bit disorganized (it ends flat, for example) and its solution seems to ignore the simple fact that permitting lower monthly payments for borrowers who live in expensive towns will just push out the eventual repayment date (and therefore the overall carrying cost). Do we want 40-year-olds still paying off loans they took out in their 20s?
Did I make any progress with this new approach to the crisis at hand? Have I made better arguments and am I standing on a better ground? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
It’s a good start Yankeefan. Your solution is only partial and too simple to cover the many variables borrowers face, but it’s current, unexpected, and a fresh angle on an old story, all of which are good new aspects of your work.
If you review the Grade Level examples I shared with you at the beginning of the semester, you’ll find paragraphs like your fourth here in the lowest-graded set for a reason I will describe and demonstrate. It stretches a single idea into seven or eight sentences. I understand this is a very fresh and extemporaneous draft on a new theme, but I want to advise you to avoid this type of writing in your Portfolio version.
The Not-Ready-for-Portfolio version:
The Portfolio-Ready version:
The author of your only cited source provides plenty of links to additional information you should incorporate into your own Op-Ed. You will of course run the risk of merely summarizing the original article if you don’t find some information of your own. Your recommended solution is already part of Tara Siegel Bernard’s report, so, while it’s a good suggestion, you can’t claim it as your own.
Keep it up. You’re on the right track.
P1. There’s nothing wrong with your first paragraph (outside of the 2nd-person violations), Yankeefan, but it doesn’t say anything we haven’t heard many many times. For such a short essay, it sounds like throat-clearing you could do without. You’ll need to bring something new to the table to get your Op-Ed published.
P2. It’s pretty clear from your numbers ($1 trillion divided by 8 million equals $125,000 per student) that $40,000 isn’t even close to the AVERAGE amount of debt owed. Your long explanation of why students have to take on loans instead of using their paper route money is more throat-clearing, I’m afraid, Yankeefan. You really need to bring some substance to the rest of your essay.
P3. Something’s wrong with your numbers. A $40,000 debt could be retired in 12 years at $300 a month at reasonable interest, but not $125,000. Which is it? And you’ve spent another paragraph explaining that to pay off a debt you need to make regular payments.
P4. In paragraph 4, we’re introduced to a concept that is outside common knowledge and might be worthy of an Op-Ed, Yankeefan. It belongs in P1. The content of Paragraphs 1-3 can pretty much be understood from whatever you decide to say about “income-based” repayment plans. As I understand them, the plans are unconventional in that they factor in how much the graduates (we HOPE they’re graduates!) earn when calculating a monthly payment. They may take MUCH longer to repay than 12 years if the borrower never makes much money, but they’re designed to NOT DRIVE THE BORROWER into bankruptcy just from unrealistic repayment terms.
So, to answer your question, no, I’m afraid, you haven’t begun to make a strong enough argument yet for a good Op-Ed, Yankeefan, but you have a topic here that COULD certainly qualify. You just need to skip ahead to the interesting and novel part about Income-Based Repayment plans and then take a strong position about them. Two come to mind.
1.) THANK GOODNESS somebody finally figured out that most new graduates aren’t earning enough to repay a $125,000 loan BEFORE THEY GET THEIR CAREERS STARTED!
2.) The very fact that we have to find ways to unburden recent college graduates from the mountain of debt they’re buried under is a terrible indictment of our economy and the cost of college. Nobody with a four-year degree should be spending 20 years to retire the cost of college!
I figured out where your numbers got screwy. You picked a number from the chart (8 million) and thought it represented all college loan borrowers. It does not. It represents the portion of borrowers who are using income-driven repayment plans.
I hope this isn’t too discouraging, Yankeefan. I’m glad you asked before the Portfolio deadline.
Would providing a new plan to fix this crisis make for a good Op-Ed?
I decided to take a clean slate approach to my OpEd and I think I am onto something here. I provided a way to fix the payment plan crisis.
We ban the 2nd person in academic essays, Yankeefan, so you’re not permitted to address your reader directly, as you do in the second word, and several other times.
Do a search for YOU and eliminate every example you find, every you, every your, every yours, etc.
For feedback I just want to know if I will be able to make a strong enough argument and if my points are strong enough to make for a well written op ed. Also any advice on the peice as a whole would be greatly appreciated.