Friday, October 26, 2012

More on Student Debt

My main character doesn't have a lot of money but does have a lot of ambition.  Like many young people, she's made the decision to pursue a college education to make sure she has a solid foundation as an adult.  The specter of debt and a life spent paying it off is one of the motivations behind what some might consider a really questionable choice.

With that in mind, here are some schools she would not attend.

My character is not white, and unfortunately non-white students are disproportionately affected by the high cost of college.  Note: my character is part Asian, not Latino or African American.  However, while that group is not the focus of this study cited, they note here:

The foreclosure crisis wiped out economic gains made by many minority families and set in motion the largest stripping of their wealth in American modern history. The average Latino family lost two-thirds of its wealth between 2005 and 2009, while Black and Asian families lost more than half of their wealth.
Not surprisingly, these families rely more on college loans, and increasingly on riskier private loans, to offset losses in home equity and dwindling savings.

In other words, the losses and threats may not be as deep, but they are still a concern for many Asian American families.

The story I've written is not about how to fix higher education in this country because, as far as I'm concerned, that would be a boring story: demand legislation providing funding for higher education institutions.  Also, not everything here is about the desperation a tuition bill can cause.  But it is about a person who, like many in her generation, is trying to dot every i and cross every t without ruining her future in the process.