A Lifetime of Student Debt? Not Likely by Robin Wilson
Nicole Minabe Professor Parker RWS 280 March 10, 2013 The Beauty of Student Loans I owe $40,000, I owe $60,000, I owe $100,000. Isn’t that a lot of money for one person to owe? Graduates have been faced with a serious problem brought about by the constant borrowing of money to gain a reputable education. The debt of loans varies from person to person but the extreme amounts that individuals owe is something the media finds worth gossiping about.
Little does the public know, in reality, all the commotion and conversation about these debts are not accountable for the majority of college borrowers. According to A Lifetime of Student Debt? Not Likely by Robin Wilson, she intrigues her targeted college audience by giving examples and providing awareness that most individuals are paying back their students loans within a timely manner with just a few sacrifices. Wilson emphasizes that the real reason individuals have an outstanding debt is because “they are determined to attend their dream college, no matter the cost” (257).
There are various reasons why students take out loans and Wilson is determined to clear up the confusion of student debt, she encourages college students to take out loans even with media’s negativity, and lastly she tries to enlighten this targeted college group that debts are repayable with additional sacrifices but in the end, that debt was the best decision they have ever made.
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The majority of individuals overhear media and see newspapers headlining the outrageous student loan stories. Is it going to be the careful story driven by the data, or is it going to be the headline that can scare people? ” (258). The media will seek attention-grabbing news by focusing on a headline that will scare millions of individuals. According to a CNN report in 2006, “they called student loans A Life Sentence and said: Forget about getting married and buying a home. This generation is thinking about next month’s payment” (258). While the media blasts out these so-called facts circling around the nation, college students are being frightened by the idea that student loans endure a negative impact.
Not only is the media spreading the word but also graduates who have student loan debts themselves. In other words, “a lawyer with $100,000 in education debt started a Facebook campaign urging the government to free us of our obligations to repay our out of control student loan debt” (256). Due to the nations unawareness, the actuality of student debt is coming out from hiding. Despite the large number of headlines or media emphasizing on outrageous student debt, there is a vast majority of graduates who have and can pay off their loans.
As the prominent economist himself, Mr. McPherson states that, “there are 65% who face debt, the average they owe is around $20,000. That’s just below the starting price of a 2009 Ford Escape” (257). He is arguing that if a necessity such as a car has a starting price close to the average debt, graduates should reconsider and realize that their problems aren’t as substantial as one might believe. Many individuals are so astounded they create panic among themselves and others that make the idea of debt a larger issue than it really is.
One of the causes for the outrageous debt is due to individuals borrowing an amount more than necessary. In A Lifetime of Student Debt? Not likely, Wilson states that, “about 8% of undergraduates borrow at least double the national average” (257). According to financial aid experts, “over borrowers” capture most of the media’s undying attention and frighten the targeted college audience to discourage them from taking out loans. An “over borrower” named Darla M. Horn, wanted to get far away from a small town in Texas and is trying to pay off her $80,000 undergraduate student loan.
She states, “I could have gone to a public school in Texas for less, but I wanted to go to New York and start a new life” (263). For instance, Darla wanted specific attributes when deciding on how to spend her money on her education system. But what she needed was guidance from an expert to better strengthen and to further understand the consequences of “over borrowing”. In Wilson’s example she believes that there should be no reason for “over borrowing” and the total cost of an education consisting of books, classes, and living expenses cost around the weighted average.
Due to the biggest setback of students who are determined to go to the college of their dreams tends to put a hole in their wallet. In other words, Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid states, “students want to be able to pay for the school they have wanted to go to for as long as they can remember, and they are willing to do whatever it takes” (258). These college students unnecessarily pull out large sums of money, which consequentially result in an outrageous amount students realize they can’t afford to pay back.
Furthermore, a second situation that causes large debts is going to graduate and professional schools. Those schooling debts are way more expensive than the typical undergraduate debt. As Wilson argues, “medical school graduates borrowed on average of $113,661. But this higher debt makes sense for people who earn degrees in law, business, and medicine because they are much more capable of landing high-paying jobs and paying off larger loans” (259). These situations are the exceptions to the average student loans, which get confused on a daily basis.
Wilson isn’t trying to discourage students from going to graduate school, but she is informing individuals about the end results. She also emphasizes those students whom go onto higher education to be confident their job afterwards will be able to manage such high debt. Normally, in situations like these, graduates tend to score better paying jobs to counter this large sum of money owed. A number of economists have suggested that, “borrowing for any kind of higher education is a smart idea. College is a good investment, and most students take out too few loans, not too many” (260).
On the one hand Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education argues, “the only thing worse than borrowing, is not borrowing and not going to college at all” (260). It is highly encouraged that students do get a higher education and according to the Project on Student Debt, “many more students are borrowing now compared with a decade ago” (261). Due to the rising number of borrowers, the education systems are getting more expensive but individuals still see the importance of getting an education in which experts are fully emphasizing.
Additionally, a third reason why people have such high debt is caused by the family’s religious interests. “For families who believe deeply in the mission of a Christian college, this is a school they’ll spend any amount of money on. This will make a huge difference in my kid’s life that is beyond income, more so whether their kid is going to go to church on Sundays or whether they will raise their own kids in the church” (266). The parent’s values are a crucial deciding factor when allowing their children to attend schools.
Wilson decides to emphasize on this topic because parents who have set ethics for their son or daughter justifies an idea that they have to follow even if it might be an expensive option. The previous situations of those individuals who have enormous debt, higher than the average borrower, leads academic advisors to convey awareness on borrowing only what is necessary. According to a academic advisor, Mr. Saleh, “we can advise students about what we think is right, and we will caution students but if they have the legal ability to borrow the money, we cant prevent that from happening” (265).
Some universities are also helping to take action to gain more awareness such as, “New York University has begun contacting high-school seniors it has admitted to make sure they understand the debt lad they could incur if the enroll” (265). Even with these extreme debt outliers, there are a lot of individuals that are able to create a living and make the best of their situation. As Robert A. Sevier VP at Stamats Inc. states, “they are graduating from college with $20,000 in debt; they are going to graduate school, getting jobs, and buying homes within their means” (266).
An out of state graduate from Bryan College had a student debt of $30,000. Due to this debt, Robert has to make some sacrifices such as driving a beat up car and not buying the biggest or best house on the block. But even with these set backs, Robert and his wife are still able to get by. He states, “we definitely have been able to live like normal people, we have satellite TV, Internet, and we both have cellphones” (266). Robert knows he could of went to a different college in his state but he felt that the lessons taught at Bryan College wouldn’t be lessons he could not have learned from another university.
When it comes to entertainment or weekend activities, “the couple usually rents movies for $1 and visit their families who live nearby” (268). Robert is content about his selection of going to an out of state college but he has to make a few adjustments to his present life. Another individual, Sara who graduated from University of Iowa has a student loan debt of $23,000. The sacrifices she makes is, “every weekday her and her husband take their 9 month old bay to the babysitters house, drops Sara off at her office, and then the husband drives himself to his own office” (268).
Due to the student loans, Sara “sacrifices and limits themselves to only having one car, didn’t buy the most expensive house, continues to breast feed their baby, use cloth diapers, and on weekends they get together over potluck dinners with other couples” (269). But in the end, Sara thinks every dime she spent on her education was worth it. She was also smart enough to not borrow more than she could reasonably pay back, knowing her intended major.
Sara claims, “I have a car, a house, a baby, and I’ve been able to move forward with my life” (269). If Sara and her husband wanted anything more expensive, the couple would be able to save up for more luxurious items. Since Sara became “borrowing literate”, she will pass on that knowledge to her daughter so she can start saving at a young age to lower the cost of potential debt. In conclusion, Wilson portrays an analysis for raising certain debt issues and uncovers individuals with counter examples to support her argument.
She uses this argumentative diction throughout her entire short story to resolve the current confusion her targeted audience experienced and emphasizes the importance of borrowing even if it causes debt. Also, the way she structures her story starts off with the problem statement about the confusion of student loans, the negativity that media portrays on debts, and lastly the personal stories to counter the argument to accentuate that graduates can still partake in a normal life with subtle scarifies where they say debt was the best decision they have ever made.
Wilson decided to structure her story in a way to exercise her expertise so the target audience understands the big picture. Additionally, Wilson is warning those individuals who attend a more expensive college, to be aware of the costs entailed and know future sacrifices will follow. The education system is continually growing in expenses and she fully emphasizes to not fall into the trap of becoming an “over borrower. ” Works Cited Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst. “They Say, I Say”: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing : With Readings. New York: Norton, 2012. Print.