Mail bag: Letters to the editor

Making tuition more expensive not the right path for student loans

The article told us that it takes 19 years to pay off student loan debt, which is affecting students’ ability to afford new cars and houses. The article also said that student loan debt is $1 trillion, even more than credit card debt.

Research shows that we are in danger of reducing middle class college graduates. We are at risk of losing a good future for our children because of how bad student loan debt has become.

In our opinion, the choice of making tuition more expensive, is absurd because loans are not getting paid on time. If the government would make it easier for students to achieve grants – instead of student loans – then the economy wouldn’t be so bad. Raising taxes for the government to give more grants away would be a better solution than keeping students in debt.

Sarah Aders, Jamal Omar & Pa Vang 

in response to “Affording the debt,” The Clarion, Oct. 9, 2012.


Article on student bus passes leaves incomplete message to readers

In the “New photo ID enforcements for students boarding buses” article, Ms. Dahlke referred to students who sell their bus passes as pirates. Later in the article, reference is made to the passes being complimentary. According to the Funding for Commuter Services page on the Madison College website, students pay $46 dollars per semester for “Campus-to-Campus Shuttle, Metro-Bus, Para-Transit & Parking” services. The bus passes are not “complimentary.”

I’m a Madison College instructor and most of my students commute from outside the metro area. They don’t have use for a Madison Metro bus pass. From their perspective, they’ve paid for a pass they can’t use, so why not sell it? It’s one of their many fees over which they feel they have some control. Look at it from the commuters’ perspective: a tank full or two of gas means more to them than an unusable bus pass. Right or wrong, it’s an economic reality.

I understand, as do most of the students, that the Madison Metro bus program (and the other related services) needs funding from a broad base in order to be economically feasible. There will always be those who financially support the system and don’t directly benefit from it. We have problems with the current system that need to be resolved, but to label students as pirates for selling their supposedly complimentary bus passes conveys an incomplete message to the reader.

Jerry Mahun, PLS

in response to “New photo ID enforcements for students boarding buses,” The Clarion, Nov. 14, 2012


Thank you for your thoughts, Mr. Mahun.

You raise an interesting point by arguing from the commuter’s perspective. If a student can’t use his bus pass, should he be able to sell it?

After reviewing the article again, I agree with you that the passes are not “complimentary.” That was the wrong word choice.

However, it is important to recognize the distinction between a bundle of services students pay for versus a single service. The difference here could determine the right of the student to sell the pass.

As the “Funding for Commuter Services” site says, and as you noted, students pay $46 for the bundle of commuter services. They do not directly pay $46 for the bus pass alone, but for several services that depend on that $46 fee.

Additionally, the back of every bus pass states: “Not transferrable, not redeemable for cash.”

Sarah Weatherbee