Editorial: Too little, too late from government action on student loan rates
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 22:08
As many students saw this summer, federal student loan interest rates doubled (from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent) on July 1 when Congress failed to pass new legislation in a move indicative of the lack of concern Washington has for the next generation and their education. While a bill was eventually signed into law at the end of August, the rate has increased and will continue to increase as it is tied to market rates. Though there is a cap on how high interest rates can rise, that cap is a hefty 8.25 percent. With a collective $1 trillion student loan debt, should Congress really be raising the rates in such a fashion that will net them $175 million in earnings over the course of the next ten years, according to USA Today?
Considering 57percent of college students require some form of federal aid to pursue a college education, it is embarrassing that the government continues to punish those who seek out a degree. In today’s society it is nearly impossible to have a successful career and even stay above the poverty line without a college education. The median salaries for young adults increase by $15,000 with a college degree, and the career trajectories are very different for those with a bachelor’s degree than those with only a high school diploma. America touts itself as a land where you can make it anywhere and that climbing up the class ladder is viable. If so, then why are we punishing those who attempt to better themselves?
Furthermore, Congress was lackadaisical in even addressing the problem. With a looming deadline that would increase the burden on students and their parents, one might think a proper reaction would have been more timely. Instead, it took an additional two months before the bill reached the president’s desk. While Obama insists that he is here for the students of America and will work to reduce student loan debt, most college attendees are only seeing their own debt increase. What can the college students of today conclude but that college is a rich man’s game and that those who seek a college education need not look to the government for assistance? While countries like Norway offer free postsecondary public education, America has abandoned the next generation in pursuit of government profit and left them with fewer options.