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Inordinate Ordnance - Student Loan Reform.

Monday, May 26, 2014

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Written by Chris Carr

Student debt is on everyone’s mind. The average student is graduating with $30,000 in loan debt into a market of minimum wage jobs. Students are, in short, paying to be in debt to be educating on jobs that do not exist.

But, of course, we don’t have to take this lying down. There are many factions of students revolting against student fees; the student strikes in Quebec, the Freeze the Fees campaign here in Guelph, to name some. And while these groups are what we need to fight the problem of educated poverty creation, we have to ask, “Who really cares about student debt?”

The obvious answer is students. It is their debt, their problem and their mission to resolve the issue. However, once we look at the individual student agenda, the answer, “students” is about as useful as a liberal arts degree.  

The student who has his parents pay their fees, well, they’re don’t care about reform. The first-year student knows about the problem, but the future seems too far away for worry about it. The second and third-years are already knee-deep into debt and feel it is just the collective woes of their colleagues, so a weird sense of inclusion is cultivated. Finally, the fourth years are already too deep into that they see no way out of it, so reform is a moot point.

Certainly politicians should be cancelled out of the “giving-a-hoot” category of student woes. They’re rich. They don’t have the same problem. Plus, they are older. Of a generation that got jobs when they graduated. So to them, we “aren’t trying hard enough”. Even Sisyphus would role his eyes in this economic climate.

What does this mean for the fight? If student debt reform had a retroactive initiative, then more students would join the fight. Too much of the fight is to make the problem not get any worse—which is vital, however wholly depressing for those of us already too deep to prosper—and rather, does not help those inflicted with the disease of debt.

It’s the difference between preventative and practical measures.

People, by their nature, are not very preventative. If they were, we’d have less heart attacks, obesity and osteoporosis and a lot more apocalypse bunkers, oil changes and kale for dinner. So it is hard to stomach a cause that will help future students, rather, than those already suffering from the debt.

Ask yourself, how much do you really care about the next generation of students? My bet is that it isn’t nearly as much as you care about the current one, the suffering one.

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