Totally Romney, Dude

To emphasize the importance of limiting student debt, Chattanooga is in the second year of its “Live Like a Student” campaign, a universitywide approach to financial literacy. The key is making the ideas of living within one’s means and borrowing only what one needs an integrated part of undergraduate and graduate education, not just “a random drop-in process,” Ainsworth said.

“We have banners and posters all over campus to advertise this,” he said, in addition to “emphasis months,” when bankers and other financial experts visit campus and speak to students about interest rates, scholarships, investments and other topics. Business students also have signed on to become peer financial counselors, and financial literacy has been incorporated into university orientation days for students and parents.

Living Cheap Enough?” Colleen Flaherty

I am going to coin a new term: a Romney (after our former beloved candidate). A Romney is a person so out of touch that it’s either funny or shocking or some disturbing combination. These administrators now suddenly concerned with student debt are total Romneys. I am not sure how they missed it but graduate student debt has been a very public issue for at least 15 years. Not that these Romenys listen to graduate students much.

When I was a graduate student in Austin, Texas, in the 1990s, I taught writing classes to earn my way. My wages were so low that I was eligible for government food assistance. (We couldn’t actually get our food help, though, because a special provision made students ineligible.) As if this weren’t enough, I had to pay tuition as well, since at that time there were no tuition waivers. We were taking classes, too, but in essence we paid for our jobs.

We were experts in living on almost nothing, we rarely took vacations, and we ate a lot of rice and beans. Unless you had parents– or a spouse– who could support you, debt was inescapable. It was especially bad in the second half of your Ph.D., when you were required to fly to conferences all over the country. There was little money for these trips either. Some people used student loans for that, but I used credit cards. It took years to pay them off.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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