Are MNSU students victims of predatory loaning?

“Predatory Lending.” This is terminology that just leaps out at you, almost demanding a challenge, yet the truth is more subtle, much longer lasting, and devastating to the victims.

Coming at us from across the country are stories that speak of gender, racial, and economic biases in the student loan industry. There are great concerns to those of us in college as to how much this issue touches the student loan business in our institution.

Once the words are muttered and the question ask, the pressure builds for the answers we need.

Minnesota State University, Mankato does not track interest rates on student loans—no college does. The figures on interest rates of federally-backed loans are available via the federal system, but those for the private banking industry are not and are much harder to ascertain.

The thesis question of this inquiry is simple: are MNSU students being subjected to biases related to gender, race, or socio-economic status in the receipt of private institution student loans? If the answer turns out to be yes, it will require that we look at why and what we can do about the many aspects of this problem.

How can we get at the answers to this question? I have included a survey for people to fill out and return to the Reporter’s office in CSU 293. It will be an anonymous survey, open to all students, with multiple opportunities to respond. The survey is listed below.

Feel free to cut it out, fill it in and drop it off at the Reporter at your convenience.

More copies will be available in the office where surveys can be dropped off. I will also have a table set up in the CSU on Sept. 28 and 29. Within the next week, the Reporter will publish the findings from the collection of the short survey. The results will then be tabulated and published in a second article explaining their significance. A third article will examine the options available if results necessitate a need for further action.

While we can speculate that we, too, are likely to be involved in this unethical banking practice, we can never be quite sure without taking the time and effort to engage with our student body to test the theory. I am asking for your support, and a little of your time, to make this effort large enough to give us the depth our data base will need to give us reliable results. Working together, we can encourage and promote quality change for ourselves and fellow students while promoting equality for all. Thank you for your time and I look forward to meeting with many of you.

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