Creating an Outline:Student Debt in the USA

by C.Talbot on February 2, 2016 - 8:45am

A. Topic & Type of Paper / Justification of Social Issue

The topic of this analytical paper is the student debt in the United States. It analyses the main causes of student debt and the effects on the students and the population. Also, this paper looks at how the government could intervene to decrease student debt by using other countries as examples.

This is a social issue since some people can’t attend higher education because of their socio-economic status, not their intellectual capacities. This also discourages students and can also distract them from their studies, since their focus is on paying their bills, not getting good grades.

Resulting from student debt is a disparity between the rich and the poor, since only people who can afford school can attend. Consequently, people with no education can’t find jobs since there is a lot of output. Studies show that “as of 2012, Americans with only a high school diploma were roughly five times more likely to be unemployed than individuals with a college degree” (Chapman and Ciment, 1). Also, the costs related to education keep on rising, and so do the amount of loans. In fact, “in 1993 49 % of bachelor’s degree recipients in the USA had borrowed to finance their undergraduate education, while by 1999 this percentage had increased to 65%” (Zhang, 1)


B. 2-3 Major Areas of Interest / Important Questions & Associated Social Science Disciplines

  • What are the effects of the stress associated to being in debt and being in school? (Psychology)
  • How does student debt affect the life of the students AFTER obtaining their degree or choosing to not pursue their studies? (Sociology)
  • What causes schools to charge high fees like this? Why isn’t it free to go to school? (Economics)


C. Who / What Groups are Involved in This Issue?

Mainly students and their families, but also the government of the United States and the different educational institutions.


D. Sources:

Zhang, L. (2013). Effects of college educational debt on graduate school attendance and early career and lifestyle choices. Education Economics, 21(2), 154-175. Retrieved February 01, 2016.

College tuition and student debt. (2013). In R. Chapman & J. Ciment (Eds.), Culture wars in America: An encyclopedia of issues, viewpoints, and voices. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. Retrieved from url=




I like the specificity of your topic and also the 3 questions associated with your different social disciplines, which are very complete and interesting. Your description is easy to read and you made good research on your topic as you have data to support your claims. However, you could support a little more point C. as you only state the group who are involved in your issue without explaining why. Overall, good job

Hello C.Talbot! Let me start by saying great job on this first assignment. I personally think this topic is very interesting and also relevant because even though we don't live in the United States, student debt is still present here in Canada and it's something some of us may experience in the coming years. Your topic is well present and you have clearly done your research properly. You've also proposed some great areas of interest which I think will all help you explain student dept itself and it's effects. If I could give you a suggestion, I think it could be interesting if you looked at both short term and long term effects of having such large student depts. Do these people carry out the stress or possible depression they have during their studies because of their dept etc. Last little reminder, although this is just a brainstorm and it's great that you've included several important questions to consider, just remember that history has to be one of your chosen disciplines so I would only choose two of the questions/disciplines you've listed in order to avoid overworking yourself. Overall, great job and keep up the good work!

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