Thursday, August 4, 2011

Debt Ceiling Bill : How this impacts students (and screws grad students)

I'm the first to admit that I am not savvy enough to instinctively understand all this talk about debt ceilings and defaults. I'm still really proud that I can figure out how to do my own taxes.(go me!)  I also can't really fathom the "blah-blah-blah" trillions of dollars that the US is in debt for. However working in a university setting makes me acutely aware of when things affect university students.

That being said this debt deal bill royally f**ks graduate students. As part of the deal, Congress has decided to scrap the subsidized portion of the Stafford Direct loan. For those fortunate enough not to have to deal with loans, the subsidized loan means that the government will pay the interest on the loan for the duration of time that a student is enrolled in school full-time. By eliminating this benefit, when grad students enter repayment they will have on average 6% more debt to repay, which at the end of the day, amounts to thousands of extra dollars to repay.
On the upside, they are using the money that they save to continue to fund the Pell Grants for extremely high-need students but that still seems completely lopsided.

At the end of the day people will still be able to go to graduate school but they will be in crippling debt by the time they come out.

*Sigh* There ends my rant.

P.S. if you want to read more about all the ways in which financial aid has been affected click here to go to an article on

Monday, August 1, 2011

The end of an era: ode to Zinnia

Today was the last day at my second job (the one that I got specifically to keep Sallie Mae from taking the shirt off my back). In the way of all endings I have mixed feelings about moving on from the job. Its a great feeling to realize that you no longer have to work 50-60 hours a week just to keep your head above water but starting a whole new chapter in life is really difficult.

I started looking for a second job roughly a year and a half ago because I just couldn't see myself paying my bills without it (Sallie Mae is a harsh taskmaster) . I also happened, incidentally, to be really depressed because in the transition from college student to real live adult, I felt like I had been left behind by all my friends. In my mind, everyone was doing something better, cooler and more awesome than me and I was just struggling. Once I got this job something totally unexpected happened. I made friends with my coworkers. Perhaps it is because I was working in a jewelry store but I became friends with some really creative, interesting (sometimes off-the-wall, in the best sense possible) people completely by accident. 

Over the year I've had so much fun, seen so many crazy people , and gotten so much great jewelry that it makes me sad to go. Oh well, they can't get rid of me that easily... I'll still be shopping there I'm sure. 

Btw a quick shout out to two Zinnia girls on the interwebs. You should check them out.