Reflections on the importance of government student loan programs.
When I graduated from high school at seventeen, I was living on a ramshackle farm with no indoor plumbing other than a kitchen sink, in the absolute middle of nowhere. (North-central Wisconsin, to be exact.) My family didn’t have an extra dime. I literally did not have $25 to my name for a college application fee. This was heartbreaking at the time because I was being swamped by glossy “check out our school” brochures from colleges and universities all over creation after I took the SAT and ACT exams.
Two years passed, and I finally got accepted by Marquette University, funded at first entirely (tuition, books, food, dorm room) by student loans and grants. Family support? There was none to be had.
Without federal help, there would have been be no journalism degree, no newspaper bylines, no freelance writing career. No interviews with Mr. Rogers and William F. Buckley, Jr. Or Bill Moyers. Or Captain Kangaroo. Or Sir David Attenborough.
Then, when I went back to school a decade and a half later as a soccer mom with four kids at home, again, student loans covered the entire cost of my law school tuition. Without those loans there would have been no law degree, no job for the past fourteen years as a prosecutor, no arguing cases before the state supreme court regarding public policy on drunk driving and children’s protection. No “op-ed” in the Washington Post about prosecuting deadbeat parents. No teaching a semester class about women and the justice system at a women’s college. No guest lecturing at the law school I graduated from, no encouraging young law students about their ability to make a difference in this world by engaging in appellate advocacy.
The effect of that “government assistance” has been lifelong and is still ongoing. There really IS a ripple effect.