Debt, Debt, Debt, and More Debt

DAYS WITHOUT A CONTRACT: 394
DAYS UNTIL THE START OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR: 21

A quick perusal of the headlines — local, state, and national — this morning brings up a pretty obvious emphasis on one word: debt. Thinking about debt and the debt ceiling and the somewhat-showy political fights in Washington and Springfield over debt (and spending) is important. We need citizens active and informed about what our government is doing — and then taking collective action to fight injustice. I don’t pretend to have the answers to our financial woes; I’m not an economist, I’m a sociologist. My job isn’t to understand line-item budgets (though I’m making an attempt to understand, given it’s a skill which seems increasingly necessary for a citizen to have); my job is to understand people and how they behave. Though who knows, the more I learn about Springfield, the more I wonder if that’s not the problem; we have too many economists, business owners, and lawyers who are politicians and not enough people who are in human service fields.

Anyway, enough rambling (sorry, I’m obviously still not rested from my trip yet):

Fixing Debt [Inside Higher Ed]
A downgrade of the government’s credit rating could also potentially lead to a downgrade of public universities’ ratings as well.

Stalemate Over Federal Debt Ceiling Leaves Student-Aid Funds in Limbo [Chronicle of Higher Education]
If we default on the August 2 deadline, the government won’t be able to pay out Pell Grants or student loans. More troubling for me personally is the move to stop the in-school subsidy for graduate students in both proposals, especially since the interest rate on those student loans is likely to go up.

Colleges boost student fees to fill gaps in state funding [USA Today]
I bet you didn’t think the incoming students were funding the Chancellor’s Convocation. While this USA Today report on rising fees calls it a “‘matriculation fee’ for orientation costs,” it basically boils down to the university charging freshmen (I actually typo’ed ‘freshmeat’ there and, perhaps, it’s more accurate) and transfer students a $150 fee to welcome them to the university.

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