A recent and pressing debate in American politics has been centered around the topic of increasing student loan debt and the overarching conversation of who really benefits from them. As the cost of attending college increases, the amount of student loans being taken out also increases, which in turn leads to debt for those students. This debate has been particularly pressing for many individuals as the idea of higher education slowly becomes unrealistic for many Americans struggling with money. The idea of taking out loans is also very unattractive to many Americans, and in turn may prevent them from attending a college or university. A study in 2017 showed that more than 44 million people have student loan debt, and that affects their life in one way or another (Zwirn, 2017).
As a society, there is evident importance in obtaining education, as well as helping lower income individuals find this to be realistic and accessible.Seeing as though there are so many affected by student loans and the importance of higher education is very relevant in today’s world, I propose that advances and reform must happen. Although there has been much debate and animosity surrounded the topic of student loan debt, action must be taken, and since the responsibility of administering the debt was from the American government, I believe the solution lies within them.
My ideas are that advances and legislation should be passed in efforts to help those already suffering with the debt, and to prevent those planning on attending a college or university from obtaining that debt. As costs for college is increasinging rapidly every year, the government is neglecting to keep up the pace with support for higher education and with grants. As this trend continues, the burden of paying for college has shifted to families or the student themselves, whereas it used to be supported at a greater capacity by state and the federal government (Kantrowitz 2016). This 2has led in an increase in students not attending higher education, choosing public universities over private, and attending 2-year colleges rather than 4-year.
Which ends up resulting in many of these students, if they do end up attending college, obtaining low to medium income jobs because of that lack of a Bachelor’s degree. As you can see, this is a major problem in today’s economy where many jobs have minimum requirements of a Bachelor’s degree. Research shows that by 2020, 65% of all jobs will require some sort of higher education and training, which will directly affect those who could not afford to attend college due to financial restrictions (Carnevale et al. 2018). The importance of education is at an all time high, with research showing that high school graduates with no further schooling earn an average of $23,452 annually, which is $17,992 less than the average individual with an Associate’s degree (Odland 2012). The responsibility of providing some financial assistance to students and families falls on three groups: state government, federal government, and the schools themselves. The state government’s part is providing a part of the public institution’s budget so that they can run smoothly.
The federal government’s role in this involves supplying Pell grants to families with low incomes and for people of any income, they back loans they may take out (Irwin 2016). Behind the reasoning of increasing costs for college attendance is because state and local governments have cut spending towards higher education in their respected areas. While some have cut spending, others have not set aside enough money out of their budgets to keep up with the growing number of people wanting to go to college (Martin and Lehren, 2012). On top of all of this, the cost of attendance for college- tuition and all fees, is continuously rising faster than 3even the inflation rate in America. This has increasingly become such a pressing and relevant issue for so many college students and families, and as the awareness rises, the discussion to find solutions has reached a standstill for what would be most beneficial.
Education is certainly a hefty investment of one’s time, resources, and money. Although higher education does produce costs in the present and future, the benefits also come (Dynarski 2014). Some may argue that students know what they are getting into when they take out loans, or even attend schools that are out of their budgets. Although this argument may have merit, asking someone to sacrifice missing out on education simply because of financial status has been deemed unfit in a society of progression and innovation such as the American one. Taking out loans requires a great deal of responsibility- which is why it often requires a co-signer, as well as creating payment plans specific to the student which shows them the realities of taking out loans.
However, these loans are not similar to mortgages or credit card loans in the sense that in paying them back, you can’t necessarily give anything up, such as your house, to help pay for it towards your collateral. This is a fatal flaw of the student loan system, in the sense that it has created a market failure within itself. This explains why the role of the government is so necessary for student loans. There are many counter-arguments about the idea of student loan forgiveness.
The basis of why people are so against it follows a few principles. One of which involves the idea of why borrowing money you don’t have is considered a bad idea (Blanco 2014). My refute for this is by saying this; then with all types of loans taken out, a person should not partake unless they have the money to repay them, which defeats the purpose of a loan. Yes, student loan repayment is a 4lot to take on as a young adult, and tuition costs are at an all time high, but if an individual wants to obtain a college degree, and has agreed to the responsibility of taking out student loans, that is ultimately their right and free choice. There are a number of reasons why the prices of colleges and universities are going up. One part of it is due to inflation, whereas the majority of things in the economy are subject to inflation, colleges are especially victims to this. Inflation due to necessities for their students- water, food, electricity- but also for the large amounts of facilities of campuses, including labs and computer centers.
Another contribution is new developments on many campuses by incorporating technology into many aspects of student life. Some may also insinuate that the increase in college tuition is due to paying professors more. Which is actually a great example of misinformation to the public, seeing as though today an average of half of faculty members are part time employees, which in turn would result in lesser pay (Campos 2015). In comparison, administrative staff members at universities have started to increase in number. Department of Education data that was released show the difference between 1993 and 2009, where they saw a growth of 60% more positions for administration at universities in the U.S. As awareness for this issue increased after years of tuition prices going up faster than inflation and the average American salary, it became clear that something had to be done about this problem.
The 2016 presidential election contained candidates with a wide variety of solutions and proposals in efforts to save the system of student loans and solve the problem of debt in our country. Mr. Trump didn’t discuss higher education and the issue of student debt until his speech about millennial policies. He stated, Students should not be asked to pay more on 5their loans than they can afford, showing his stance on the issue (Irwin 2016). His plan frameworked around the idea of capping repayment at 12.5% of that individual’s income and proposed to eliminate any debt remaining after 15 years. He also briefly talked about cutting costs more aggressively for colleges, and possibly limiting their spending on administrative bloat. Mrs. Clinton’s approach involved the implanting penalties for schools who neglect to cut their costs by using financial penalties in efforts to reduce tuition. She also discussed using federal resources for tuition grants, but only in states that fund public universities. In turn, she also shared her ideas about the students lending contribution, by working ten hour weeks in efforts to work for their education (Irwin 2016).
Making advances towards finding a solution to this problem have clearly been attempted and discussed. However, action is drastically needed for the many Americans struggling with their student loan debt, and those fearing for the future as tuition continues to rise. My solution for helping those with crippling student loan debt, and to prevent future generations from obtaining it, involves a 3-year implementation plan in efforts to create reform and increase education levels across the country. This plan is called For The Students, it is a reform that will positively affect the lives of millions of Americans and take preventative action for those in the future. For The Students involves a variety of reform that involves all three sectors involved with student loan debt- the students, the government, and the schools themselves. The first year of the plan is really the trial year.
This will be when much of the reform will start to be implemented, and legislation will be passed. Taking action as efficiently as possible will be the goal for the first year. The first order of business is to actual pass a bill that 6Senator Elizabeth Warren has been making efforts to get passed through Congress (Marquit 2017). This is a federal student loan refinancing bill that allows people that took out student loans to refinance those loans and as a result, they get a lower interest rate. They would still be able to keep the forgiveness possibility and create repayment plans that are flexible for their lifestyle. The second part of year one that will be introduced is lower interest rates on these loans. Congress does set these interest rates, and from 2016- 2017, unsubsidized Stafford loans and direct subsidized increased from 3.76% to 4.45% (Lane 2017).
The plan is to lower the interest rate by 1.5%, which ends up resulting in a 3.3% interest rate. Because of the complexity and extent of the action plan of Year 1, the remaining part simply involves Congress communicating with every university and college in the U.S., and sending out requests for their budget reports, as well as communicating the efforts in place. Year 2 is more involved with the students and the colleges/ universities. Now that legislation has been passed and implemented involving refinancing and lowering the interest rates, the focus of Year 2 has shifted to make efforts from within the actual institutions. As mentioned before, Congress has sent out requests to every college and university in America to communicate what has been going on, as well as to request budget reports of spending and resources. During Year 2 there will be budget evaluations of each budget report, and after each evaluation there will be released reports sent to each school. These reports will contain suggestions and incentives for each budget depending a series of guidelines that evaluate where tuition money goes, what percent goes towards student resources, and the size of administrative 7staff at each school. From there we are advising schools to re-evaluate their budgets, which in turn will lower tuition.
Year 2 is where we are pressing for these schools to start allocating their resources as effectively as possible, in efforts to cut tuition to assist their student population. Year 3 is the final step to For The Students and is focused all about the repayment plan for those already with student loan debt, and for those who need to take them out in the future. The ideas presented in the 2016 election were strong and thoughtful when considering what to do about this crisis. Taking a combination of the ideas, we are proposing capping repayment at 10.5% of that person’s income, and eliminating remaining debt after the 15 years, as proposed by Mr.Trump. With this being said, payment plans and interest rates will continue to need to be paid either during schooling or after, depending on the loan type, which will ensure accountability and honesty within this new system. With reform, comes maintenance, and that is the remaining part of Year 3. Although there will be no intervening action at first, observation of the results of these efforts will be studied and recorded for future consideration. If necessary for intervention or possible changes to legislation, action will be considered and discussed amongst Congress. All schools and universities will remain in contact, sending annual budget reports, along with proof of tuition price changes.
This will ensure that accountability is held amongst all three parties, as well as to keep tabs on the status of For The Students to monitor effectiveness and to adhere to voices of concern or suggestions. This issue of student loan debt is such an exigent problem for so many Americans and has created a burden upon many which is why I think attention and solutions should be addressed 8before it becomes a larger issue. These efforts and reforms are going to be put in place in hopes that higher education will soon be seen as obtainable and realistic for many. The benefits that will come from more people being educated will contribute to many societal advantages, such as lower incarceration rates, higher community involvement, and overall economic development (Miller 2018).
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