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Maybe Kevin Cullen should stick to writing about mobsters

Aaron Weber explains why Cullen's recent Ungrateful Sallie Mae column does a good job at pulling at the heart strings (family of a dead Marine having trouble getting the company to forgive $100,000 in student loans he took out), but does a terrible job explaining why the family might still owe the money. And that, Weber (who works in the loan field) concludes, might be because Cullen couldn't be bothered to ask basic questions:

... Is it budget cutbacks that prevent Kevin Cullen from doing any actual leg-work on his articles? Because really, there's nothing to this piece except that it sucks to die and it sucks to borrow money and not be able to repay it, and that's not actually news.

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While my heart goes out to the McVey family, Kevin Cullen uses blind patriotism as a defense for not paying back these loans. Private student loans must be paid back, period. If Mr. McVey feels that this is unfair given the nature of his son's death then he ought to works towards changing this rule.

The Cullen article basically states that if you believe that the McVey's should be on the hook for these loans then you obviously don't respect our servicemen. The truth is that Ian McVey chose to attend a very expensive private college and his family supported this decision by agreeing to co-sign his private Sallie Mae loans.

It was Ian McVey's life-long dream to become a Marine, despite the fact that he could've earned more money by going into the private sector. Using that same defense, what if Ian McVey's lifelong dream was to become a teacher? Teachers and junior military officers both require college degrees and earn roughly the same pay. If 2nd Lt. McVey was a junior high school science teacher I doubt his untimely and tragic death would've warranted this "pull at your heart strings" article.

Kevin Cullen obviously couldn't have been bothered to research basic facts. Perhaps a call to Aaron Weber or even an ex-serviceman could've cleared up a couple of info nuggets that were conveniently left out of his article. For example, every serviceman has a life insurance policy that is paid out to the next of kin. The McVey family will receive a check from the SFLI that will cover Ian's student loans and then some.

Cullen's article was straight up Boston Herald reporting. I'm surprised that a paper like the Globe would even run Cullen's column without checking all of the facts.

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Cullen should have used the opportunity to warn young men against the folly of going to college just for the sake of going to college.

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