Why anyone would take out a student loan seems obvious at first: They don’t have enough money on hand and need a temporary infusion of it to go. But my best friend Holly, who hopes to study graphic design at my college, has been working since high school in order to save her own money. See the difference? She knows how to wait. She recognizes how the costs of a student loan outweigh the benefits.
The conclusion I draw is that loan recipients are either unable to work or just plain impatient. Of course, no one in Congress is willing to say this, which is why related provisions buried in the health bill cleared the House, ostensibly intended to ease the debt burden. (Maybe the representatives are still paying off their loans?)
An expansion of federal aid would be for the loan program in which the government lends directly to students. Somehow I can’t think of that as an appropriate use of government services in the middle of such a deficit,* and even if not for that, the program sounds too Canadian. But as long as it’s based on serious financial need, that would be OK. Meanwhile, a contraction would be for loan subsidies to private banks. Meh, they were subsidized enough last year.
*$10 billion of the total savings from ending the bank subsidy program would go to paying down the deficit. Not as much as could have gone, but it’s a start, I guess.
The rest of the bill includes $13.5 billion for “projected shortfalls” for the Pell Grant program and an increase in the maximum award within seven years; $2 billion for community college programs for the unemployed; $750 million for college preparation for low-income students. Now we’re getting somewhere. But here’s something completely different: “Historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions and tribal colleges would get a $2.55 billion .”
A $2.55 billion what? The article doesn’t finish the sentence. But it’s probably just another word for “government payment.” Why should historically minority-serving institutions get this kind of special treatment? My guess is that this was thrown in by someone who was desperate to display their commitment to minority voters. To that person, I say: That’s not equality.
So, while the bulk of these provisions are acceptable, I can’t help but think that our elected officials should give their student constituents a little kick in the ass when it comes to working for their tuition.