Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Research Proposal

Steven Nixon
Professor Goeller
Research in Disciplines: College!
Research Proposal

Working Title: Predatory Loans

Topic

I will go into detail describing what has happened to higher education, government funding, and student loans over the past several decades. We are currently at a point in time where students of all backgrounds, even those who are more affluent than others, get less and less out of higher education, including higher student to teacher ratios, worsening job prospects after schooling, and inadequate useful tools/resources to help students thrive. Students as a collective are being charged higher tuition rates along with receiving less federal aid and being forced to take out more and more in loans from big banks and big corporations, like Sallie Mae.
Research Question
Why and how did these predatory schemes from the likes of our own government, banks, for-profit colleges/institutions, and large student loan corporations arise? And is our society going to continue along this path, or is there something that can be done about it?
Theoretical Frame
Beginning with the Presidency of Nixon and continuing strongly under the Reagan administration, student loans have become an essential cog in the flow of cash towards the government, banks, and large student loan corporations. In her book, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotage the American Dream, Suzanne Mettler brings to light how the “policyscape”, or political landscape, has changed over the preceding decades, which in turn has lead to the rise of plutocracy. Our politicians seem to be more concerned with private interests, wealthy donors, and the idea of “pay to play” politics. Over time, this system has gotten worse for the average American, and even worse for the average American student. It will be important to understand how the government has affected our lives so heavily so I can truly delve into the question of why this ongoing cycle has not stopped or slowed.
Research Plan
Luckily, there are several sources that I can use from this course that have been read, re-read, and analyzed during my own time and class. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality by Armstrong and Hamilton will be a major source for my research as the idea of inequality can be linked with these predatory schemes put forth by government, banks, and the likes of Sallie Mae. The stories presented paint an underlying picture of the hardships fought by less affluent students just to continue in higher education. The book given to me by Professor Goeller, Degrees of Inequality, is certainly going to be the focal point of my research as it explains how we have been deceived over decades by politicians and policies to undermine all of the hard work put forth by legislation like the GI Bill and the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Student Loan Scam by Alan Collinge is another reading that has been used for discussion in this course that will be a heavy fallback for me. Although we only read the first chapter, I am going to read more of the book as a whole to get a better picture of the driving points made by Collinge. His first chapter is titled, “The Rise of Sallie Mae and the Fall of Consumer Protections”, and it was a great starting off point to have me thinking critically about these predatory actions put forth by Sallie Mae in addition to the government taking away some of our protections so Sallie Mae could become that much stronger.

Working Bibliography
Mettler, Suzanne. Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream. New York: Basic , a member of the Perseus Group, 2014. Print

Armstrong, Elizabeth, and Laura Hamilton. Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2013. Print.

Carlson, Scott. “When College Was a Public Good.” The Chronicle of Higher Education 63.15 (December 2, 2016): A04. Print and Web.

Collinge, Alan Michael. “The Rise of Sallie Mae and the Fall of Consumer Protections.” The Student Loan Scam. Boston: Beacon Press, 2009. Print.

Hillman, Nicholas W. "College on Credit: A Multilevel Analysis of Student Loan Default." The Review of Higher Education 37.2 (2014): 169-95. Web.

Looney, Adam, and Constantine Yannelis. "A Crisis in Student Loans?: How Changes in the Characteristics of Borrowers and in the Institutions They Attended Contributed to Rising Loan Defaults." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2015.2 (2015): 1-89. Web.

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