Assignment Description: Student loans and the cost of higher education have been hot topics in recent political elections, and it is a very important topic to college students. The average undergraduate student borrower in 2016 graduated with $30,100 in loans according to a report from The Institute of College Access and Success. The problem is many former students with their degrees and those who left without finishing their education are having trouble making the loan payments. One controversial solution to this problem is the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plan.
Students will be asked to explain, research, analyze, and derive a personal point of view regarding Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plans. They will also be asked to identify the consequences of their points of view through six mini essays (minimum of 200 words each). Students will need a minimum of three academic sources. The essays must be in either MLA or APA format and will be worth 100 points (approximately 10-15% of the student’s grade).
Students will need to copy and paste everything highlighted below into a Word document and then insert each of their essays below the questions. After students write their essays, they will need to be saved in a Word or .pdf file. Students will then click on the Critical Thinking Assignment Link (the title of this assignment). In the next webpage, students will scroll down to where it reads “Assignment Submission” and click on “Browse My Computer.” Navigate to wherever the student has saved their essays, and select the file to upload it to Blackboard. Students will also need to make sure they check the box that says “I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.” Don’t forget to click SUBMIT.
Assignment Goal: By examining the economic issue, with the perspective of basic guideposts commonly used by economists, students will be able to employ critical thinking as they arrive at their conclusions and consider the consequences of their positions.
Assignment specifics in the context of the Critical Thinking/Ethical Thinking rubric:
Students will be introduced to this assignment during class. The grading rubric will be provided to them and reviewed at that time. Additional research will be required of the student.
Description/Explanation of the Problem (mini essay #1)
Students will be asked to research the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plan during the semester and develop an explanation of the problem. They will be asked to clearly summarize the main issues and to relate why there is a problem.
Ethical Thinking (mini essay #2)
Using the 8 key questions, students will discuss which they find most important when looking at this particular question. They will have to describe why they chose each question. They will need to discuss a minimum of 4 key questions.
Fairness – How can I act equitably and balance legitimate interests?
Outcomes – What achieves the best short- and long-term outcomes for me and all others?
Responsibilities – What duties and/or obligations apply?
Character – What action best reflects who I am and the person I want to become?
Liberty – How does respect for freedom, personal autonomy, or consent apply?
Empathy – What would I do if I cared deeply about those involved?
Authority – What do legitimate authorities (e.g. experts, law, my religion/god) expect of me?
Rights – What rights (e.g. innate, legal, social) apply?
Evidence (mini essay #3)
Students will evaluate the evidence from multiple perspectives on the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plan, and be able to recognize the differing viewpoints. Students should provide evidence from at least one academic source in support of the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plan and one source against it. A minimum of three academic sources will be required for this mini essay.
Influence of Context and Assumptions (mini essay #4)
Students will explore the context(s) and assumptions within which they are studying the issue.
Students will need to consider what preconceived ideas they have when approaching the topic. Students will need to consider their ideas, backgrounds, and beliefs that may have influenced their thoughts on the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness program.
Students will also need to consider how the Pay as You Earn loan forgiveness plan is impacted/complicated by the economic, social, and political environment. Students must choose at least two of the impacts listed and analyze them.
Student’s Position (mini essay #5)
Students will need to clearly state their position while recognizing the limits and weaknesses of their position. Students will need to discuss how their answers to the 8 key questions influenced their thoughts. They will need to provide evidence of having considered their position from alternative perspectives. Students should also consider how their position will impact their life.
Conclusions/Related Outcomes (mini essay #6)
Students will need to state their conclusions and implications logically and systematically. Their conclusions will be developed from the synthesis of the information from their previous essays. The student’s conclusions and implications must be insightful and significant. Students should consider what might be the economic, political, social, or educational implications of their position.