An Open Letter to the U.S. Government About Student Loan Debt

Dear President Obama and every Congressperson, Senator, and presidential candidate,

As I was indulging in my morning ritual of sipping a cup of coffee and reading the news, I came across an article that hit me with a wave of nausea faster than some of you swing a nine iron on the golf course. New research was released saying that the top 1 percent of student loan borrowers have loans of more than $150,000. Rep. Paul Ryan also launched a plan that will hit poor students the hardest by wanting to cut Pell Grants.

My relaxing coffee break quickly came to a halt, but I've had a lasting pit in my stomach ever since reading that article.

Immediately, I launched into panic mode. I racked my brain for options. Drop out of graduate school? Respond to the typo-ridden post looking for journalists in Latvia? Create a time machine to erase my decision to go to an out-of-state school and instead enroll in a community college (also known as 'the government's only plan of success')?

Obviously, I hold full responsibility for my loan debt. It was my decision to go to an out-of-state university, choose a notoriously low-paying job field, and enroll in the money pit known as grad school in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. However, my ultimate goal was never to rack up debt as the years went by. My goal has always been to peruse something that I'm passionate about and set out to change the world. After all, isn't that what all of you preach as the American dream?

Statistically, one would think that I'd be in a better debt solution than my current state. I graduated both high school and college with honors, I come from a low-income single parent household, and I'm the first person in my family to go to college. Even with scholarships, my student loan debt has increased steadily. Instead of being a poster child for the American dream, I'm the face of someone who will be using my bingo winnings to make a student loan payment when I'm living in a senior citizen home.

The biggest crisis in America right now is the student loan debacle. Something needs to be done to help in alleviate the issue. It's crippling our citizens before they even get a chance to get out of the gate, limiting the possibilities and opportunities of this great country.

Or we can just follow Mitt Romney's plan, as he stated:

It would be popular for me to stand up and say I'm going to give you government money to pay for your college, but I'm not going to promise that ... Don't just go to one that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully you'll find that. And don't expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.

Let's see where big plans like that take the country, Mr. Romney. And while you're at it, would you mind tacking my debt onto your tab? After all, being a multi-millionaire descending from a long line of millionaires, you won't notice another $100,000 onto your bill. That's just about the same price as one of Ann's Cadillacs.

Sincerely, your debt ridden friend,

Amy Hansen