Blog Archives

Poetic stickup: Put the financial aid in the bag – Carvens Lissaint

Great video!
– Thanks to GenerationDebt  for bringing it to our attention via their blog.


Over 100 Follows!!!

Thank you for all of your support and being a part of the discussion to make higher education affordable.

Between the Blog and Twitter there are 107 followers!

Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education

Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education.

It’ll be interesting to see where this goes. Usually I have heard people say, “it’s too big a task and too many variables.” Yes, it is complex, but I am glad someone is trying.

Timothy Pratt: The Walmarts of Higher Education?

Timothy Pratt: The Walmarts of Higher Education?.


Why Are You Discouraging Voting?

In light of all the Supreme Court Voting Rights Act controversy, I cam across an article from April about the absurd news that there was actually a proposal in the North Carolina state senate trying to tax parents of students who change registration. My jaw dropped! If it could it would have slammed into the floor.

Voter turnout in the US is low enough as it is, having one of the highest apathy and discontentment rates out of the democracies in the world. And now instead  of having a Get Out the Vote movement and efforts North Carolina is actively trying to dissuade people from exercising their right to vote by basically limiting the 26th Amendment of the Constitution. This is preposterous!

Many colleges nationwide have student-driven voter registration drives annually. Inspired by their peers, voting becomes easy and exciting. But this potential NC law would put a burden on students and they would hesitate to register and maybe even to vote.

Many colleges nationwide have student-driven voter registration drives annually. Inspired by their peers, voting becomes easy and exciting. But this potential NC law would put a burden on students and they would hesitate to register and maybe even to vote.

The proposed NC law says that if a voter is being claimed by their parents as a dependent for tax purposes, they must vote at their registered “home address.” If they do not, then parents cannot claim their child as a dependent for state income tax reasons. Many parents rely on the tax exemptions they receive by claiming their children as dependents. These students return home to their parents for school breaks and summer vacation, although the entire rest of the year, their college campus is essentially their home in almost every aspect. At their college home they sleep, shower, eat meals, have a job on or off campus, do their homework, relax, rely on a support system, and the local community, do volunteer work, and call it their home.

The proposed bill also “…would require college students who change their registration to register their vehicle at the new address within 60 days and begin paying local property tax.” It also appears that proponents of this bill have tried to place limitations and even eliminate early voting periods and same-day voter registration laws. This year I saw vast lines for the early voting days. They seem effective to mean and very useful for all of those people who waited as if they were going to see their favorite band’s concert.

Where a student votes should not affect their parents or their taxes.  Many of them barely www.advocatesforyouth.orgmake $3000 a year and are struggling to pay for college and other costs. Students and those parents that can help with tuition have an incredibly hard time paying, further fueling the student loan epidemic. Why is the local government trying to make it more difficult for these families to pay for their education and be active patriotic citizens? Families should not have to chose between their desire to be educated to have a better life to be productive happy citizens and their right to vote. The youth vote like any is important and restricting it leaves a criminal after-taste.

There is a saying among the political communities that “If you do not vote, you do not have a right to complain.” The saying is not serious, everyone always has a right to their opinion and to stand up freely and vocalize their opinion. However, the saying speaks to, if you wanted to have a say in who represents you, then why didn’t you speak up then, and utilize your right to its fullest. Registering to vote on campus, voting alongside their peers, and in their college’s community makes the political process more fun and meaningful to students. Also, many students cannot go home to vote because they cannot afford to. And if for whatever reason they did not fill out the absentee forms, then they cannot vote. This law seems to be a way to try to silence the rising young voters.

www.labeez.orgProponents of this bill claim that it is a means of saving money. Bah! They are sucking money from people who do not have the money. These young Americans are paying to better educate themselves so that one day they can make a living and pay their taxes. Maybe if this money went right into a public need-based scholarship program, it would be more acceptable. But I have not read any statements saying how this extra money will be used. And the proponents had the gall to say that students were being to manipulated. Are you kidding me!? Students, even at 18 most definitely have a mind of their own, they are having active discussions – many of them in collegial settings, and they have access to all the same campaigning and media like any other person of voting age has access to. Even candidates in recent election cycles from both parties have visited and had their campaign bases reach out to educate, register voters, and recruit potential Get Out the Vote volunteers.

The first presidential I was allowed to vote in was 2008. I was 18, excited, already an activist, and this happened to also be one of the greatest turnout years for young voters between the ages of 18-29.

Like every year the election was in November, which meant that I was in college. I went to college in PA, and although I could have filled out an absentee ballot, I wanted to physically vote. Who could argue with that? I along with my peers am a young american who cared and cares about the present and future of my country. I wanted to actively participate. And I was happy to re-register in PA because I was allowed to register with my campus address. I even participated in voter registration drives to get my classmates and people in the community to register. Allowing students to register with their dorm addresses promotes democracy, free speech, reaching out to all generations of voting age to have a voice, and makes the process of voting easier. Yes, absentee voting is great. I have even participated in the process since. However, when you are 18, maybe are away from home for the first time, and are adjusting to college life, filling out the forms by the appropriate deadlines is probably not the top thing on your mind. We should be fostering young Americans’ civic duty and be inspiring a pride in voting. This is why organizations like Rock the Vote,, and the National Youth Rights Association are so fantastic and pivotal.

www.bullcitymutterings.comRepeatedly it appears that the younger generations are the last to get picked in kickball. Although in comparison, it has been better in recent years, issues affecting young Americans tend to get ignored and undervalued, and during elections they are almost never or minimally reached out to. This is likely because they either can’t vote because they are to young or because they have not been turning out in large enough numbers compared to the older generations. As a result there was the chicken and the egg apathy conundrum that began resolving itself in 2008,  which was one of the greatest voter turnouts since 1972, the first year the 26th amendment was put into action.

The  chicken and the egg apathy conundrum is that politicians did not pay attention to the issues of young Americans because they did not participate in the political process and vote; and young Americans did not participate in the political process enough and vote because the politicians were not paying attention to them. But the chain began to brake. However, since 2008 the chain began to reform.

Unfortunately, slowly again, regardless of greater turnout and maintained activism through organizations, volunteering, and social media; young american issues were not only de-prioritized, as can be seen by the lack of/poor effort to reform student loan bills and aid education. Additionally and grossly counter-efforts have been made to basically disenfranchise the young voters by making voting difficult. It seems like the lawmakers are hoping young Americans will re-crawl back into their cave of apathy. BUT we are not going anywhere and will make sure our voice is still heard and bring transparency to these despicable laws.

What I do not get, is why would you want to restrict voting, when it i hard enough to get people to vote, and just when people were getting excited to vote again because they are more invested than ever in the issues? We should be making voting invigorating and facilitate it.

Funny Advocacy

Please check out the Satire to Destress page. There are some great videos.

I think one of the best ways to get out a message is through laughs and eye-catching entertainment. And feel free to spread the joy.

Staying Afloat

We all know that ancient Chinese teaching a man to fish proverb:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Well here’s the modern take on it for recent grads:

“You give a student a loan today and s/he can pay for college.

After they graduate they will be paying back that loan for a great portion of the rest of their life – maybe…”

A huge looming question is how is this generation of young adults going to pay this back? So, let’s break it down.


Below are approximations of living costs for grads that either try to immediately enter the workforce or are no longer eligible for deferment for whatever reason.

You will see that many will barely stay afloat.

Most young adults are either unemployed or have some sort of minimum wage/part-time job [IF they are lucky] that has nothing to do with their degree (the very reason they took the loans out in the first place).


So, let’s say the minimum wage is $7.50

And the recent college grad gets a minimum wage job that lets them work 40 hours a week [please keep in mind that they are not necessarily getting direct job experience in their field unless they studied business and minus developing people and communications skills.)


Their Total $ earned per month = $1200 (gross income)

Approximate Monthly Cost of Living

Loan Payment (Based on one of the offered payment plans): $400 a month for the next approximate 10 years (if you pay on time)

Rent (if they are not w/parents or crashing or couch surfing) – about $700 a month

Utilities: (water, electric, internet, laundry, kitchen and bathroom appliances (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels) $150 a month

Cell phone: (Needed for potential job apps/interviews, networking, keeping in touch w/ family/friends, and for emergencies) $30 – $50 (using the $30 for the total below)

Food: $150 a month

Public Transportation (cause can’t afford a car or insurance: $200+  per month

Fun (subjective activities): [You can’t be expected to have no funds for fun you’d go crazy –  it’s for mental health]: $100 per month

Emergency Funds (even if you are one of the lucky ones and have additional savings it is always safe to have some extra money just in case you never know): $200

Total Monthly Spending: $1780


$1200 (gross income) – $1780 (Total Money $ Spent) = -$580 (net income)

Even if the monthly loan payment was removed, the recent grad would STILL be in debt for the month.

$1200 (gross income) – $1780 (Total Money $ Spent) = -$580 (net income) + $400

= -$180

So, after calculating the potential under-budgeting we try to think what can we cut back on?

First, please add the loan payment back in because (you SHOULD pay it – if you don’t it’s terrible for your credit, credit is VERY important). So we are back at -$580.

Then we look at cutting out components that “may” be debatable such as:

– Cell phone: +30

– Fun (subjective activities): +100

– Internet part of utilities: +50

– Some food: +50

– And some Emergency funds (which is not a great idea): +100

Total New Additions: +330

-$580 + $300 = -$250

– The recent grad will be STILL be under budget by $250

Another option is moving back in with their parents or maybe a friend/other relative has space.

– If they live at home, then they can potentially save on rent and utilities.

+$700: Rent

+ 150: Utilities

Total savings = $850

So based on the previous component cuts…

-$250 + $850 = $600

Finally, they are not under budget and perhaps they can either save the $600 or reallocate it to paying their cell phone and internet bill for basic communication and job hunting or whatever they’d like.

Almost everything listed in the “Approximate Monthly Cost of Living” below is necessary and explains why so many more people live with their parents today (and are now being dubbed the “boomerang generation”). It’s not necessarily about being lazy; it’s about what they can afford, keeping up with loans, and trying not to become homeless.

This is a scary reality. Taxes, health insurance (a whole separate debate), printing costs for resumes, new clothes when old clothes get worn out were not even included for all of the estimations.

Another option to cope with the budgeting issue is having multiple jobs or praying your boss will give you over time or more hours. But if both pay around minimum wage, in order to minimally get around $1800 a month to be able to afford the $1780 monthly approximate cost of living evaluation; the recent grad would have to work 60 hours between the two minimum wage jobs.

These are jobs the recent grad probably doesn’t love, that underutilized their skill set, and will not help advance their chosen career path. These young adults are basically living pay check to pay check.

60 hours is a lot to work, which can be exhausting a terrible for your health [maybe they should pulling all-nighters from college to their resume]. It is possible, for example doctors and lawyers work at least that amount, but they get paid a whole lot more than minimum wage.

Do we really expect our recent grads to sacrifice, food or shelter to pay back loans and just to get by? Or their ability to get a job to get them out of their unemployment hole? I hope not.

I think better options include making college more affordable, not doubling student interest loan rates, and finding new ways to handle current and future student debt (which will certainly be discussed in greater depth in an upcoming post)

Walk the Plank!

Walking the Plank

You’ll either survive or you won’t.


Perhaps you’ll make it eventually.

But how long will that take?

How much does your degree really matter or truly prepare

You for the sea of resumes that are about to swallow you whole

suffocating you and dragging you down into the depths that we call

the job market – the real world.

Once you are in the sea, will you be able to get back on the ship
or find an inhabited thriving island [of employment] to be on more stable ground?

OR will you be stranded on the deserted island of a minimum wage job, temp job {IF you are semi-lucky}, or yet another unpaid internship. How long can that last?

How can you stick out in the white foamy watery sea of resumes and survive?

Will you jump in or be pushed?  BUT will you be prepared either way?

In the sickening storm that is The United States’ recession, unemployment is dangerously high and so is the ability for young adults to find jobs to make a basic living. Recent graduates – our up and coming workforce is suffering.

And with the incredulous cost of getting a college degree, grads drowning in loans, interest rates spiking, competing with stronger swimmers with higher degrees and vast more years of experience; the future looks grim.

This blog will discuss the ever-expanding ongoing employment crisis – particularly how it affects young adults. These issues include the barriers in the job market for those entering the market; the dilemma of getting intriguing unpaid, but valuable experience v. minimum wage/job searching [what I call the never-ending intern]; college costs; paying back loans; and trying to find ways & new policy solutions to make this wave of highly motivated creative, and qualified individuals more employable; finally looking at job search tips (like ways to network) to help maneuver around our troubled system in the best ways we can.

So YES, the job market is like walking the plank. I don’t know about you, but I intend to survive, even if it takes one blog post at a time.

(This is the first post and is also available on the “About” page)


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