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The Future of Loans

Drinking Age Disputed

Emma Siepmann investigates the impact of Trump’s upcoming legislation on student loans

Annie Christman dives into the controversial question of the US drinking age

BY EMMA SIEPMANN opinions editor

BY ANNIE CHRISTMAN out and about editor GRAPHIC BY LEO MAR TINEZ

In the United States, turning 18 means a lot of things. It means that you may vote, be persecuted under full extent of the law, get married, serve on juries, sign contracts, join the military...go thousands of dollars into debt (in fact you’re encouraged to do so), but most of all it means you are finally an adult. But what it does not mean in this country, is that you now have the right to drink alcohol. This is confusing for many teenagers who reach the age of 18. In American culture, adulthood is starkly contrasted with childhood. Adulthood promises autonomy, responsibility, and self-determination. However, according to American law, the term “adulthood,” is a rather ambiguous term. A lot of people feel that once one becomes an adult, they should have the right to make (sometimes difficult) decisions. After all, a slew of new responsibilities are imposed upon 18-year-old. If they can be expected to make impactful or life-changing decisions such as debt, voting, or marriage, why can they not be expected to make decisions about what they put in their body. A lot of supporters of a higher drinking age think that it is ultimately safer, to prevent alcoholism, drinking and driving, and other dangers. However, many others believe that lowering the drinking age to eighteen might bring a new perspective to the pragmatics of the issue. Of course, there is the issue of binge drinking. Proponents of a lowered drinking age point out what the current drinking age has meant for American culture. Often, on their twenty-first birthday, young people

ANNIE CHRISTMAN

will dive head on into the world of (now-legal) bingedrinking to celebrate. After waiting years to explore alcohal, their pent up curiosity and desires can lead to habitual binge-drinking, especially at colleges where such a population is squeezed into close proximity to each other. Proponents of the drinking age believe that exposing people to alcohol at a younger age would remove some of the mystique and taboo around drinking, and thus prevent binge-drinking. Many also argue that a lower drinking age is ultimately safer. The years 18-20 are prime years for people, especially those now attending college, to attend house or college parties that are havens for bingedrinking. They argue that drinking done in secret prevents an array of new dangers, whereas if people are allowed to drink in more public spaces such as bars, they are less likely to encounter dangerous situations. When trouble does arise for teenage drinkers, they also need to feel as if they can safely seek help. Not only would lowering the drinking age allow people to feel safe seeking help with issues like alcoholism or sexual assault without fear of persecution, but it would also popularize resources to help those dealing with similar issues. The truth is that teenagers do drink, and the law is not going to stop them. No one is encouraging young people to drink sooner, but if we do want to be safe, we must have a clear grip on reality, and react appropriately. Many believe that hallmarking drinking legally at adulthood might just be the way to do that.

As high school students who are about to face college, financial aid and student loans are on the top of many MHS students’ minds. Often, federal loans are the sole reason that college-bound students are able to make their future a reality and be able to afford a college education. When Trump was elected and DeVos brought into office as the Secretary of Education, many wondered how the new government would handle the massive issue of student loans in the US. New insight has shown that they may be in the process of removing Public Service Loan Forgiveness and cutting Perkins Loans as well as limiting the number of work-study programs available. All of these decisions are drastic and could have serious repercussions for incoming college students. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program serves to assist students who are serving their communities and local governments in meaningful ways. According to the Student Debt Relief Organization, “Reports as of May 2017 are that Trump and DeVos’ initial education budget will seek to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which could cost student loan borrowers billions of dollars.” In addition, DeVos and Trump are considering cutting Perkins Loans, which are high-school specific student loans that are aimed towards students with exceptional financial need. These are the students that couldn’t pos-

“CUTTING AND REMOVING THESE LOANS WOULD BE ESPECIALLY IMPACTFUL FOR THE STUDENTS WHO NEED THEM MOST” sibly pay for higher education without grants and loans like these. Cutting and removing these loans will be extremely detrimental to thousands of students across the country and be especially impactful for the students who need them most. Going into his presidency, Trump stated that he would be working to minimize and cut funding for the Department of Education in general. At the Myrtle Beach Tea Party Convention in January 2015, he stated directly regarding the Dept. of Education that “You could cut that way, EMMA SIEPMANN way, down.” Since the beginning, President Trump has been against public education and is now translating these views into the fragile world of student loans. Decisions in this area must be made very carefully; the futures of many students are in the hands of our president. The Bruin MARCH 21, 2018 mhsbruin.com 7

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McMinnville High School, The Bruin, Issue #4, 2018  

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McMinnville High School, The Bruin, Issue #4, 2018  

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