After reviewing the article “Debt Education”, it is easy to see how much tuition and fees have increased over the past years. The author Jeffrey Williams mentions that for over half of those attending college, student loans are the most widely form of funding and is the most form of debt of early to middle adult life. It is mentioned that education today is largely privatized and loans are the easiest way for most people to pay for it. The average undergraduate student loan debt in 2002 was $18,900; it more than doubled from 1992, when it was $9,200 (Williams, 53). Added to this is charge card debt, which averaged $3,000 in 2002, boosting the average total to $22,000, one can easily assume with accelerating costs that it is over $30,000 now (Williams, 53). With the growth of competition in the corporate world, many have returned to school in order to be able to enter the workforce with “high-level skills”. But with this poor economy, many are unable to pay for school from their own pocket. Students used to say “I am working my way through college” (Williams, 54); nowadays that doesn't exist unless you have superhuman powers according to Williams. Additionally, he mentions that debt has increased at roughly three times the rate of inflation putting a disproportionate burden on students and their families. It seems that most Americans could take a while in order to repay those loans; if they are even capable of paying for them. Williams’s article has really good arguments backed up by well-done research in the subject, not to mention his credentials that make him a great candidate to demonstrate the need for reform to address the student debt problem and free access to higher education.
Sandy Baum mentions in her article “It’s Time for Serious Reform of the Student-Aid System” the complexity of system of federal, state, and institutional subsidies that have evolved to support post-secondary students. “A rational long-term planning process never would have generated the array of programs that today’s student’s face, with complicated application processes, inconsistent rules and regulations, and problematic interactions when students seek aid from multiple programs” (Baum, 15). She clearly states that the current system is full of inequities and inefficiencies, this problem cannot be ignored especially since billions are spent on student aids with the purpose of opening opportunities and developing a skilled and flexible workforce. To contrast Baum and William, they both mention how Federal and state governments, colleges and universities, employers, and other private sources have supported by distributing about $135 billion in financial aid to students during the 2005-06 academic year, almost double the funding a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation (Baum, 15). “Without these grants, loans, tax benefits, and work subsidies, many of the nation’s 17 million undergraduate and graduate students would be unable to continue their education at the institutions of their choice” (Baum, 15). Similar to William’s article, she mentions the growth on the gap between family and student ability to pay and the price of college; demonstrating the inability of people to pay for those loans.
In the article “How to Fix the Student Loan System”, Peter Reilly covers more on the issue of student loans in a more up-to-date (2012) perspective by mentioning that over the years, nearly all standard consumer protections have been removed from student loans. “Concurrently, draconian (as well as lucrative) collection powers were given to the lending side of the system” (Reilly, 2). It is clear how the balance is supporting more one side than the other - Students and Lenders. He goes to say that “We are faced with a structurally predatory lending system where most of the players- including the federal government- have been making more money from defaults than loans which remain in good stead” (Reilly, 2). His comment defines the characteristics of this “Predatory lending system” pointing out the obvious problem in the system, making the enslaving theory of our growing corporate world to keep us working tirelessly to pay our debt more visible. In addition, he mentions that schools and lenders have misled students about the value of the institutions and the real risks that they actually represent. He states that this could have been avoided if the government was on the side of the borrowers (students) rather than against them (Reilly, 3)
Peter Reilly offers a solution to this problem by first offering full bankruptcy protections to all student loans, at a minimum. He mentions that this will make the Department of Education lose interest to serve the lenders (schools), aligning its fiscal interest more on the side of the students (Reilly, 4). It is also important for individuals at the department to be held accountable for many of public interest failures that occurred and are happening today (Reilly, 4). “Unless this sort of house cleaning occurs, the corporate culture that has overtaken the Department will dog any and all efforts at meaningful reform of the bureaucracy, and is best dealt with first and foremost” (Reilly, 4). He theorizes by mentioning that if this is achieved, the Department will revise the lending limits to more accurately reflect the value of the education being received. The second step to this solution is to remove all the bad schools that are taking advantage of the current situation, including profit and nonprofit organizations and ensure that the remaining are delivering a high quality education at a low cost. His proposal seems effective and easy to implement, but only if the government had more interest in helping the students rather than making money for corporations or themselves; maybe more people need to speak up in order for a big change to happen before it’s too late. Only if elected officials spent more time dealing with these issues and would acknowledge this problem, we wouldn't have this problem to begin with.
Williams, J. (2006, Summer2006). Debt Education. Dissent (00123846), 53(3), 53-59. Web. [PDF format]. February 17, 2013. http://vizedhtmlcontent.next.ecollege.com/CurrentCourse/debt_education.pdf
Baum, S. (2007, March). It's Time for Serious Reform of the Student-Aid System. Change, 39(2), 15-20. Web. [PDF format]. February 18, 2013. http://vizedhtmlcontent.next.ecollege.com/CurrentCourse/time_for_serious_reform.pdf
Reilly, Peter J. “How to Fix the Student Loan System.” Forbes.com. 27 August 2012. Web. February 19, 2013.