15 November 2016
Dear President Trump:
Alyssa McCarthy graduated college after eleven years of working hard on homework, studying for exams, and pulling all-nighters for finals preparation. She has big plans to become a pediatrician and cure children not only in her community, but all across the United States. Ultimately, her dream is to change and save lives. This dream will never happen. Because of crippling student loan debt, McCarthy is unable to afford travel expenses; therefore, she is prevented from following her dreams and achieving what she has been preparing to accomplish for the past eleven years of her young adult life. Around 70% of college students graduate with an average debt of $30,000, and McCarthy adds to this growing number. Since student loan debt is ruinous, college tuition costs should be proportional to a student’s family income.
With the upcoming election, it is important that young adults vote for the person who can best represent them. In recent years, family income has remained static, even as tuition continues to increase. When students graduate, they should immediately begin saving up for marriage, a car, a home, retirement, etc. Instead, they are stuck in a sinking pit of borrowed student loans. Many can argue that a person may be successful without earning a college degree; therefore, graduating college is not required to live comfortably. This argument is flawed because it takes time and practice to acquire a stable job, steady flow of income, and a comfortable life surrounded by those you love and are able to care for financially. To prove this, college graduates experience lower rates of unemployment than those without college education by 4%, and are paid about $5,200 more annually. By not enrolling in college courses, a person is putting their life and future family in jeopardy financially.
Some say students can easily pay off loans if they save up for it. If a young adult belongs to a low-income family, goes to medical school, and works as a waiter or waitress, then what time is left for studying? When a student should be studying to pass an exam, they are working to stay afloat. When a student should be working to pay for a home, they are working to pay for borrowed loans. When students finally graduate, they lack a stable job, home, and other aspects of life needed as a young adult attempting to make it in the world. People say that getting a job immediately after graduation can quickly help pay back loans, but inexperience in a new job results in lower income until promotion is an option. Also, 13% of graduate degree recipients start working immediately after receiving their diploma. This number decreases every year with the economic downturn our country is experiencing. Under your administration, please take students’ concerns into consideration. Why must U.S. citizens spend their entire lives drowning in debt, not having the ability to pay for their child’s education because they are still trying to pay for their own?
I propose that you, our nation’s leader, institute an income-based repayment program for the many who are in student loan debt. I urge for a sliding scale to be used to calculate fees that vary in accordance with a student’s family income. With this plan in place, you can increase the number of professional jobs, expand education to bright poor students, and raise the American living standard. According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly 12% of borrowers ages 25 through 49 are already in default. Defaulting results in damaged tax refund and credit rating. How can we continue to allow our neighbors and their families to be crushed by the ever-growing mountain of debt? College life is setting responsible, intelligent, and deserving people up for failure. President Richard Nixon said it best when he announced, “No qualified student who wants to go to college should be barred for lack of money.” The goal of the first colleges in colonial America was to teach men and women to be responsible leaders in the New World. Today, college has been defined as a tool to provide skills, knowledge, and training to help students succeed in the working world. With 20.1 million graduate students close to $30,000 in debt, it is impossible to see how universities are staying true to their purpose. Your country desperately needs your authoritative help, so please, help us live our American dreams.
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Mikhael, Mira. "Paying for College." Adolescent Health & Wellness, edited by Paul Moglia, Salem, 2015. Salem Online, online.salempress.com/articleDetails.do?bookId=731&articleName=AHW_0014&searchText=paying%20for%20college&searchOperators=any&category=Health. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016.
Quinton, Sophie. "Why You Might Be Paying Student Loans until You Retire." Student Loans, edited by Noel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?disableHighlighting=false&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&currPage=&scanId=&query=&prodId=OVIC&search_within_results=&p=OVIC&mode=view&catId=&limiter=&display-query=&displayGroups=&contentModules=&action=e&sortBy=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010794220&windowstate=normal&activityType=&failOverType=&commentary=&source=Bookmark&u=lafa43079&jsid=27c1ce73b150c0ab0503fe3df910f58b. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016. Originally published as "Why You Might Be Paying Student Loans until You Retire (and Beyond)" in National Journal, 18 Sept. 2014.
White Goode, Robin. "Saddled with Student Loan Debt?" Black Enterprise, vol. 46, no. 8, Apr. 2016, pp. 36-37. MasterFILE Premier, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=f5h&AN=114707144&site=ehost-live&scope=site. Accessed 13 Nov. 2016.