Marie G. Louisiana

Student Loan Debt

I am a sixteen-year-old student in high school who is enthusiastic about learning. I am concerned about the effects of student loans and the cost of a college education in our country.

November 16, 2016

Dear Future President:

Debt from student loans is crippling not only the financial state of individuals who take student loans but also the financial state of the country as a whole. As of 2015, the federal student loan debt was $800 billion, according to America magazine. An individual who takes loans to attend a university is much like an individual digging a hole for themselves that will be exceedingly painful and challenging to escape from. While I am not aware of the perfect solution, I am an adamant supporter of a college education, and I am deeply concerned about the lasting consequences of student loans. I believe that college should be significantly more affordable and that people who are in this crisis should receive help.

Student loans began when President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Higher Education Act to support those of less-wealthy families who wanted to receive a college degree. Johnson attempted to bridge the gap between the wealthy and impoverished, but instead, he did quite the opposite. Although student loans give many the opportunity to attend their college of choice (or college at all), the after-effects of student loans may ruin the opportunities one receives with the earned college degree. This may be caused by financial setbacks and/or lack of immediate employment. An article from Bloomberg states that more than 42 percent of student loan balances have still either been delayed, delinquent, defaulted, or in bankruptcy as of August 2016. Still some argue that a reliable college graduate who has loans will quickly get a supportive job to pay them off. This is not always the case. Opposing Viewpoints in Context accredits this delinquency rate with unemployment and underemployment. Unemployment and underemployment cause a fairly large amount of individuals to go into default shortly after starting to pay off their loans. In addition, the debt delays individuals from settling down as an adult with a family, a house, and a stable job. Student loan debt weighs down both the economic and social aspects of a person’s life.

In 2013, President Barack Obama addressed the student loan debt disaster with the statement, "Our economy can’t afford the trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt, much of which may not get repaid because students don't have the capacity to pay it.” The unfortunate reality is that college tuition in our nation rose 439 percent between 1982 and 2007 (noted in a report by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education). This is why students take loans. In 2013, the Institute for College Access & Success recorded that 69 percent of seniors at private and public nonprofit universities were in debt from student loans. This statistic haunts many students who fear life after college with this weight on their shoulders. The Atlantic reported that many graduates struggling with debt are not buying cars or homes, resulting in a 19-year low on homeownership. Other long term effects of this debt include lack of a sufficient amount of money for retirement, money for investments, and money for children.

Solutions for student loan debt have been discussed and heavily debated, but no complete clarity has been reached in the situation. Some claim that forgiving the debts would solve problems, and others wish to leave them in fear of the problem escalating. Regarding college tuition, the cost should be lower, or more mandated financial aid should be offered to provide better opportunities without taking loans. The negative aftermath of student loan debt may never leave a person. For example, Doug Wallace Jr. fought for his loans to be dismissed after becoming blind and not being able to work. They were not dismissed, however. Unexpected circumstances may reach a person with student loan debt and further harm their lives. A solution to student debt needs to found and implemented.

As I near the end of high school, I strongly hope that these circumstances improve for our country and that I attend a college that my parents can afford without loans. I stand firm in my belief that student loans are damaging our country and its people. The cost of college tuition should be more affordable to middle and lower class families. I respectfully request that you consider these claims and approach them with your best effort.


Marie G


"The Indebted Ones." The Economist, 29 Oct. 2011. The Economist, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.

"Introduction to Student Loans: At Issue." Student Loans, edited by Nöel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Series. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.

"Is a College Education Worth It?", 27 Oct. 2016, Accessed 11 Nov. 2016.

Nasiripour, Shahien. "This Is How Badly We're Managing Our Student Debt." Bloomberg, 29 Aug. 2016, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.

Quinton, Sophie. "Why You Might Be Paying Student Loans until You Retire." Student Loans, edited by Nöel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "Why You Might Be Paying Student Loans until You Retire (and Beyond)" in National Journal, 18 Sept. 2014.

"The Student Debt Crisis." America, 11 May 2015, p. 5. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.

"Student Loans." 2016. Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2016. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Nov. 2016.

St. Thomas More Catholic High School

Guillory English III

Honors English III 1st period Honors English III 3rd period AP English III 4th period AP English III 5th period AP English III 7th period

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