CHH Politics: Student loans a catch-22

Friday, Sept. 7, Politcal Cartoon

Keaton Brownstead

The main reason your tuition is skyrocketing is because the government and banks guarantee you loans. They have altered the fundamental way college is priced. This seems absurd, but consider this common scenario. You are at a flea market, and want to buy a shirt. You ask the saleswoman, “How much does this cost?” Her guaranteed reply is, “How much money do you have?”

With the growing prominence of these loans, universities can now price tuition on how much money we can be lent, not how much we can afford. With college becoming more of a cultural expectation, there is an increased competition to swoop up the influx of students. So there are huge expansion projects, renovations, and market capitalizations in areas like sports. Yes there are donors, but we are footing a large part of the bill for these things. Don’t be fooled, we are being sold a free lunch.

It is a catch-22: we need loans to pay for college, but the loans’ existence is the very reason we need them! What should we look for in this election as a solution? First, total reform of the federal student aid program. Graduates are defaulting on loans at an ever increasing rate, as much as 55% at some schools. This is bad because nothing short of death can get us out of federal loans, not even bankruptcy.

Also consider this past July, The 2007 College Cost Reduction and Access Act has expired, and the interest rate on your federal loans has literally doubled to 6.8%. You may not care because you’re not having to pay that now, but it will hit you when your first payment is due. If this does make you upset, contact Republican representative Brett Guthrie’s D.C. office at (202) 225-3501.