September 10, 2012

Students majoring in ‘debt’

Rob Noonan, Don't Major in Debt Project Manager, in a campaign t-shirt. Photo by Aliza Chasan.

By Aliza Chasan


A scroll through degree listings never shows debt as an option, but with the levels of student debt growing nationwide, financing an education may be what students are learning most about.


The New York Public Interest Research Group, a national student directed research and advocacy organization with a chapter at Queens College, is holding a campaign entitled, Don’t Major in Debt.


The cost of college and difficulty in obtaining a job post-graduation leaves students in a sticky situation with debt that can take decades to pay off.


Even though I have no credit card debt, watching how deep in the hole I’m going in student debt is disheartening,” said Cher Armstrong, a library studies graduate student at QC. “I’m terrified that despite being an officer in more than one club, having several years’ work experience in libraries and decent grades that nobody will hire me and I will end up having no choice but to default.”, launched July 17, is a result of NYPIRG’s work. Jane Lynch of “Glee” fame is the face of the campaign.


Produced by the National College Finance Center, the site works to help minimize college costs, potential debt and details methods of payment, post-degree.


With the total amount of student debt surpassing credit card debt and topping $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the IOU a student will be left with by graduation is becoming a bigger consideration. Despite having a full scholarship that funded her undergraduate education, Armstrong estimates that she will be left with more than $50,000 in debt from obtaining her master’s degree.


If I’m really unlucky and don’t get a job that pays enough to afford loan payments, then my credit is going to be destroyed. I’ll never be able to take loans for a car or a house,” Armstrong said.


Pew Research Center survey data shows that 75 percent of the public say higher education is too expensive. The debt young adults are being left with makes it harder to pay bills, buy a home and impacts career choices, delays marriage and/or starting a family.


At present, right now, I’m going to a public institution, but I already had to take out loans because my grants and federal aid and personal income simply wasn’t able to take care of books, cost of transportation, food and all the other things that are necessary to a college education,” said QC student, Wayne Cleghorn, in a video he posted to the Don’t Major in Debt, Facebook page. Cleghorn also works 20 hours a week.


Rob Noonan, Don’t Major in Debt Project Manager, in a campaign t-shirt. Photo by Aliza Chasan.

College Board data shows that QC gives out an average of $8,300 in merit aid per student receiving assistance each year. Merit aid recipients in City College, Hunter College and the College of Staten Island; receive only approximately one-third, one-fourth and one-eighth the amount that QC allots to each merit aid beneficiary.


However, City, Hunter and Staten Island also all give out merit aid to, on average, 8 times as many students as QC does.


Merit aid received does not necessarily totally cover student expenses; Hadas Fruchter, a recent graduate of Macaulay Honors College at QC, had a full merit scholarship covering tuition, but was still forced to take out around $40,000 in student loans to cover food, housing and books.


Thanks to the loans, I’m able to focus on other things. But there is this biting feeling that the moment I finish my education, I don’t start with a clean slate. The cycle begins and I have to start paying it back,” Fruchter said about her feelings regarding her loans.


Fruchter recently spoke in a panel on student debt and the Jewish community. She estimates around 25 people attended. Between them, they had $664,000 in debt.


This fall, NYPIRG intends to continue their campaign by pushing the use of their new website, which provides students with the information necessary to avoid majoring in debt, said Jaqi Cohen, a spokesperson for the QC chapter of NYPIRG.


I’ve never heard of it [the campaign] because it wasn’t publicized enough for me to hear of it, but would like to know more because I am definitely majoring in debt,” Armstrong said.










Photo by Brandon Jordan
The food trucks, like Shah's Halal Food, will soon be leaving the campus because of the winter season.

Winter is coming, but food trucks are going

The distinct smell of Shah’s Halal Food on The Quad at Queens College will soon disappear as winter approaches. During the winter, a few trucks will not appear on campus. However, they will return in the spring. “I’m de...
by Sara Scheidlinger

Photo by Phil Vallone
From left to right: School Certifying Official for Veteran Student Services Lorraine Rosenfeld, retired Colonel Gregory Gadson, Veterans Outreach Specialist Dennis Torres and Executive Director of Student Life John Andrejack

Retired Army officer speaks to students about overcoming obstacles

The New York Giants faced the Washington Redskins, their rivals, in the third week of the 2007-2008 season. Before the game, retired Army colonel Gregory Gadson, invited by a former West Point classmate, spoke to them about h...
by Phil Vallone

Photo by Yongmin Cho
The Feminist Press was founded in 1970 and became a part of CUNY in 1985. They publish works related to feminism.

Feminist Press still relevant after 45 years

At the CUNY Graduate Center is a small, educational non-profit organization that fought and still fighting for big social changes. The Feminist Press, located at 365 Fifth Avenue, Suite 5406, publishes feminist classics, offer...
by Yongmin Cho


Photo by Mahnoor Mirza

Humans of Queens College created to highlight student stories

Humans of Queens College is a thing. An adaption from Humans of New York, the popular blog which highlights the lives of New Yorkers, HOQC seeks to exemplify the concept for QC students. Shiran Cohen, junior, Solomon Shapiro, ...
by Mahnoor Mirza

Photo by Christina Cardona
Joyce Carol Oates holds up a copy of her latest memoir, which she spoke about at LeFrak Concert Hall on Nov. 10

Author Joyce Carol Oates discusses memoir at Evening Readings

Joyce Carol Oates read from her latest memoir, “The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age,” on Nov. 10 at LeFrak Concert Hall for the Evening Readings Series. “The Lost Landscape” is a memoir about her childhood a...
by Christina Cardona



College students struggle to balance jobs and education

Franklin Rodriguez, a senior, applied to four to five jobs since his freshman year. For him, it was difficult selling himself to employers. “The hardest thing when applying for jobs and internships, for me, would be the proc...
by Brandon Jordan

Photo by Brandon Jordan
Kirsten Weld spoke about looking into the archive of the Guatemalan dictatorship. In the above photograph, Weld shows one document she discovered.

Harvard professor explains value of Guatemalan archives

Historian Kirsten Weld visited Queens College to discuss archives found in Guatemala, specifically ones during its civil war. Weld, a history professor at Harvard University, released a book last year titled “Paper Cadavers:...
by Brandon Jordan



Students share their lives with diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which highlights a disease at least 29 million Americans have, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are two main types. Type 1 diabetes is when the body canno...
by Shira Rosner


“The Cherry Orchid” teaches lessons on regrets and letting go

The Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance and the Kupferberg Center for the Arts held a production of Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard,” directed by Lisa Rothe earlier this month. At Rathaus Hall M-11, the play firs...
by Lea Passione


Queens College is center of America’s Got Talent auditions

Jugglers, singers, musicians and break dancers were some of the 1,600 applicants at the Q Cafe and Rathaus Hall on Nov. 14. They all were applying for America’s Got Talent, the popular reality show on NBC that first began i...
by Erica Finocchio



CUNY affiliates with The Rubin Museum

Students and faculty could, on a Friday night, learn about Himalayan Asian culture thanks to a recent partnership between The Rubin Museum and CUNY. “What this partnership provides, which is really exciting, is that in addit...
by Philipp Regala


Proposed Senate bill offers discounted MetroCards

The wallets of college students may become thicker because of a bill introduced by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. The University Transit Rider Innovation Program offers a 25 percent discount to college students across the natio...
by Brandon Hernandez



Students are right to be concerned

In the past week, college students have been protesting, pressuring and bringing attention to racial injustice on their campuses. Of course, controversy developed because of this over political correctness and free speech for j...
by admin


Policing in New York City needs to change

Sophomore Yibin Mu uploaded a video on Oct. 25 showing an officer apparently placing him in a headlock, a disturbing image for anyone to see. Mu rode his skateboard at Columbus Circle in spite of signs barring it. An officer, o...
by admin



NABA helps students with business opportunities

During the 1960s, many black accountants felt there were not enough promotions for them in the corporate world. However, in 1969, nine accountants decided to create NABA to help members network and challenge discrimination. ...
by Irving Cruz