Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hello World, my name is John. I received this email first th...

Hello World, my name is John. I received this email first thing on a Monday morning and instantly thought to myself "what do I say?!" I've been a member of The Listserve for quite some time, but there's really way to prepare for those three words. . . "It's your turn."

I'm from the US, and I work in higher education. For the past ten years I've been involved in student services in some form or fashion, in Student Affairs, Admission, and Financial Aid. I've had the opportunity to work in a small liberal arts school and a large public university. In ten years I've literally seen and heard everything. I'd like to touch on the Financial Aid part of things today.

To those Listserve readers who are college students in the United States - Please, take responsibility for yourself. While a good number of students I've dealt with are go-getters and fend for the themselves pretty well, a startling majority of students seem to be attached to their parents throughout college. This is not necessarily a bad thing. The support that a parent provides on an emotional and practical level cannot be understated. However, when parents are doing things for their children that will have a lasting impact on their lives, such as master promissory notes and required federal counseling for student loans, that support becomes a problem. Students - it's your lives and your money. Take responsibility for yourself. When you default and you say you "didn't know" you had student loans, look back on your past and ask your parents if they did your paperwork for you.

On a similar but different note - the system that we have in place in the US to finance higher education is not sustainable. During the Recession students returned to school in droves because they were unable to find work. At the same time the government decided they needed the majority share in the student loan business to protect students from predatory lending practices. The result? A massive amount of debt that is owned by the government, which is sure to be the "housing bubble" for the next generation. We have got to figure out a better way to finance higher education to ensure accessibility for future generations.

Finally, I'd love to hear from you. Whether you're a student in the US who "didn't know" they had student loans, or someone from another country who has an idea as to how we can reform higher education financing here in the US. I can't wait to hear from you.

Good night World,

John
Tennessee
thelistservejohntn[AT]gmail.com

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