My daughter has graduated with her Masters Degree and is about to enter the teaching profession in New York as a Speech Language Pathologist. She is becoming a productive citizen and taxpayer. She has student loan obligations. My Son-In-Law has graduated with his M.D. and is a Radiology Resident in New York and is a productive citizen and a taxpayer. He has a mountain of debt that surpasses the average American's home mortgage. My son is a recent graduate with a degree in Psychology and is about to enter the Polytechnic Institute of NYU for a Masters in Science in Organizational Behavior in an effort to become a productive member of society and a taxpayer. In order to pay for this graduate education, he is currently seeking student loans. The going rate for these loans? A fixed rate of 9.9%! The rate of interest on my mortgage is 3.6% and on my car is 0.9%. The lending rate to banks by the Federal reserve stands at effectively 0%. Then why the gouging of America's students?
Where is the outrage knowing that banks are demanding a whopping 10% from students representing not only the best and the brightest, but the future of America? This leads me to the fact that we are constantly being barraged with political narratives that America is "not what it used to be" and that the "young folks are being forced to live at home because the economy is so bad." But there never seems to be a call to explain the reasons for these beliefs? Why is it that young Americans are facing such a bleak economic future? Why is it that no one wants to talk about the cost of higher education and the negative impact it has on the spending power of young and educated Americans? Why is it that we hear about the rising cost of health care, but not the rising cost of education (which is rising at a much higher rate than health care)? Instead of moving up the socioeconomic ladder, graduates are bogged down with mountains of student loan debt, unable to afford a new(er) car, a home, or even rent. Why is it that corporations can wipe out debt through a bankruptcy filing but students may not do the same with student loans? If corporations are "people too" (per Mitt Romney) than students should be able to exercise the same rights as Mr. Romney's Bain Capital and Mr. Trump's real estate corporations by unleashing the burdens of debt that render them unable to survive in today's economy! Why is it that our political leaders refuse to support our future leaders' abilities to obtain higher education (unless they come form family wealth)?
On the higher education front, presidential candidate Mitt Romney sums up the GOP position as it relates to students when he says he believes students should only be able to get as much education “as they can afford" (June 29, 2012). Coming from a family that could not afford higher education in the 1970's, my brother, sister and I used all available financial aid to respectively become an attorney, a food scientist and an attorney/educator/author. We all became productive citizens and taxpayers! Affordable financial aid made that happen. Admittedly, we did not "build it" without governmental support! Is it the current political belief that those seeking an education should only be able to obtain one they can afford? That is easy if you are worth over $240 million, even if you are worth $1 million. But what about students from the Middle Class seeking the American Dream? Is it too far a stretch to assert higher education is also an American National Security concern?
Not everybody is cut out for higher education, and I get that. But why preclude those Americans that are prepared to seek higher education to become productive citizens and taxpayers, but cannot attain that objective because they cannot afford the costs associated in that effort? Can we afford to allow banks to attain exorbitant profit on the lending of money to those in need of that cash to attain their higher education? If we don't make tuition affordable, we may not be able to afford the cost of a lost generation representing America's future. Will America please finally address this problem? Can America survive this crisis?