Thursday, June 2, 2016

Online Interview About Writing My Book, Solving the Student Loan Crisis

I was recently interviewed about the process of writing my book over at  Book Marketing Buzz.

Here's a snippet:

1.      What inspired you to write your book?
There were several things that inspired me to write Solving the Student Loan Crisis: Dreams, Diplomas & a Lifetime of Debt. First, I was on my way to becoming a professor, so I spent a lot of time in academia. The topic of student loan debt came up often. I myself am also a debtor, something I talk about openly in the beginning of the book. In fact, my student loan debt, at least in part, led to the demise of my marriage, one that lasted close to 10 years. But the topic also relates to my beliefs and commitment to social justice.
When I left academia, I went into publishing, and shortly thereafter, I launched a blog called, All Education Matters. This blog was originally intended to help me stay connected to academia and explore all sorts of intellectual ideas (hence the reason behind its name). However, shortly after I launched the blog or right around that time the banks were bailed out by the US government. There was a lot of public outrage, as many here will recall. So, a lot of people began asking, “Well, if the banks were bailed out, what about students, too?” This is part of what inspired me to begin exploring student loan debt, and that opened a huge can of worms. 

You can read the rest of the interview here. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Forgive New Farmers of Their Student Loans?

Apparently higher ups at Clif Bar think that Congress should forgive student loans for young farmers.

In a recent Marketwatch article, the reporter noted that, the producers of the organic health bars "are urging Congress to pass the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill introduced last year that would allow farmers to have their student loan debt wiped away after 10 years of payments. Clif Bar is one of the biggest companies signing on to a letter drafted by the American Sustainable Business Council, of which the company is a member, asking Congress to enact the bill."

These calls for forgiveness by executives at large, well-known companies such as Clif are noteworthy. In some ways it is similar to the way in which Fidelity now offers employees the perk of putting money towards paying of their student loan debt ($10,000 is the max for each employee).  The program is popular, too. 5,000 employees at Fidelity have already signed up for the loan program as a new benefit.

It seems more businesses are paying attention to the student loan crisis, and executives have to be aware that those who are employed by them, and heavily indebted, are not nearly as productive as they could be with this financial stress hanging over their heads.

While my book offers specific solutions that aren't related to the private sector, these responses to the crisis in that area are encouraging. Of course, it is not the solution, but it is a point in the right direction. And if you purchase my book, you will find that I offer a set of solutions, as the crisis is too complex to come up with just one to solve it.

Thoughts? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Campaign for Free College Tuition's Email Regarding My Publication - "A New Paradigm: Solving the Crisis"




The Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) sent out an email earlier today to their followers about the fact that whether or not you're Republican or Democrat, or anything else for that matter, it is clear we agree on something key about higher education: the student loan crisis is out of control.

In this note, my book was mentioned, too, as the President of CFCT, Morley Winograd, recently wrote a 5-star review about it on Amazon.com. 

Here's the full email below:

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein

We are tired of a system that continues to do the same thing while expecting a different result. Regardless of your political affiliation, your president candidate of choice, your age, and where and when you went to college, record student debt – averaging $37,173 for 2016 college graduates – demonstrates that our current education finance model is unsustainable. We need to do something different, we need a solution, we need free college now!

A recently released study by University of Illinois Professor Min Zhan found that individuals with student debt – both college graduates and drop-outs alike – had a lower net worth, fewer financial and nonfinancial assets, and homes with lower market values when they reached age 30 than those who graduated without debt.  She indicated that these findings suggest "that in addition to negatively impacting young people in the short term, education loans may also compromise their financial well-being over the longer term."

Cryn Johannsen, a member of CFCT’s Advisory Committee and the author of Solving the Student Loan Crisis, similarly reports that “there are also vast numbers of young adults with student loan debt who cannot become productive citizens in our economy because they are barely getting by each month as they pay off their student loans.”  Her newly released book is a must read and, according to CFCT President Morley Winograd in a review on Amazon.com, “tells you everything you always wanted to know about the nation’s student debt crisis but were afraid to ask. By combining personal poignant stories on the impact of student debt, including in the author's own life, with the cold hard truths of how this crisis came about, Cryn Johannsen has delivered a devastating indictment of our current system of financing higher education. This book makes it clear that only a complete transformation of how we pay for higher education in the U.S. can fix a very broken system and save the next generation of Americans from the scourge of student debt.”

It is obvious that we need a new paradigm. We need free college tuition and we need your help to make it happen. Even from home you can make a difference by liking us on facebook, following us on twitter, and continuing to spread the message of free college tuition. Together we will.   Sincerely,

Norma Orozco
Campaign Director
Campaign for Free College Tuition
I'm greatly appreciative of Morley's endorsement, as well as the work that CFCT is doing on behalf of prospective and current students, and I wanted to share this information with all of you here.