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It's time to think about reducing student debt.
In case you missed it, Congress stuck it to young people once again.

Members of the House and Senate knew well in advance that without direct action by Congress, the interest rates on certain student loans would double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1. Predictably, that date passed with no action—leaving students on the hook for even more debt upon graduation unless Congress can take remedial action before a new round of loans is issued for the upcoming school year:

WASHINGTON — College students taking out new loans for the fall term will see interest rates twice what they were in the spring – unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4 holiday.

Subsidized Stafford loans, which account for roughly a quarter of all direct federal borrowing, went from 3.4 percent interest to 6.8 percent interest on Monday. Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimated the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.

Now, the typical "non-partisan" writeup of this travesty will blame partisan bickering for this Congressional impotence, but the truth is what one might come to expect: Democrats did what they could to help students and young people, while Republicans chose to sacrifice them on Ayn Rand's free market altar. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, proposed that our nation's students should get the same low interest rate of 0.75 percent that big banks get from the federal government. Other Democrats in the Senate had their own proposals, including an offering from Sen. Jack Reid to extend the former rate of 3.4 percent for another two years. The Republican House, however, countered with this:
House Republicans passed the “Smarter Solutions for Students Act,” which lets loan rates fluctuate yearly, pegged to the 10-year rate plus 2.5%, but capping the rate at 8.5% (loans for parents and graduate students would have a 10.5% cap). This means that rates, even on existing loans, will go up as rates climb, likely all the way to the 8.5% cap as the economy recovers. This is more than if Congress does nothing and just lets the rates double July 1. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects rates would rise to 7.7% in 2023, which is more than double the current rate. Many are calling the Republican plan the “Bill to Make College More Expensive.”
Please continue below the fold.

In other words, Democrats tried to come up with ways to at least hold the line on loan interest costs for students, if not dramatically reduce them. Republicans, however, passed a bill through the House that would be worse for students than the current result of having done nothing at all. But let's say that Republicans in Congress don't get their way and force students into paying even more in interest on their subsidized Stafford loans. Let's say that Democrats actually succeed in restoring the previous rate. Heck, let's say a miracle happens, lightning strikes from a clear sky, and Republicans accede to Senator Warren's proposal. That might feel like an accomplishment, but it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the student debt crisis that America is facing.

In most cases, the subsidized Stafford loans whose interest rates have doubled are but a minority of the total package of debt that students leave school with. That interest rate increase certainly doesn't help, but it's barely scratching the surface of the real problem: the rising cost of college, and the concomitant horrific rise in student indebtedness. College costs themselves are soaring: as of August 2012, the cost of a college education in the United States had increased twelvefold over the past three decades—a rate four times faster than the Consumer Price Index. The increase in student debt is even more drastic:

Student-loan debt has doubled since 2007. At an estimated $1.1 trillion, it’s the nation’s second biggest form of household indebtedness, after mortgages. One in five families have such loans, with an average balance of $26,682 at last count. Many owe far more than that – more, in some cases, than they can imagine ever being able to repay.
The end result is a massive drag on our nation's economy, as young people with excessive student debt are often unable to leave their parents' homes, much less afford major purchases or feel that they can engage in entrepreneurial activities that may not pay off right away. Even worse, the rise in college costs and student debt lead to increased societal stratification. Higher education is supposed to be that engine of social mobility, but increased costs lead to an even greater disparity between the haves and the have-nots. As Emily Crockett notes at the AFL-CIO blog:
We're talking about a system that gives wealthy students a triple advantage—more choice of elite schools because financial aid isn't an issue, no extra stress about working while trying to finish school and no debt eating up paychecks afterward.

Today's students grew up trusting that college means economic opportunity and following your dreams. If the only barrier to their dreams is the dotted line—a barrier that their counselors say they must cross, and that is no big deal to cross because everybody does—a "choice" on paper becomes an inevitability in practice.

Clearly, doing something about our student debt crisis must go beyond keeping interest rates from rising. Fortunately, California is setting an example for the rest of the nation to follow: earlier this week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the Middle Class Scholarship Act, authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez. Upon full implementation in fiscal year 2017-18, this landmark legislation will use money from the general fund cut tuition by 40 percent at state universities for students whose families make less than $100,000 a year—thus helping to guarantee that public education will actually be affordable to the public it is supposed to serve.

Nothing could better illustrate the contrast between progressive and regressive governance than the contrasting approaches to student debt from the California Legislature and the House of Representatives. While the Republicans in Congress are actively seeking to make things even worse for students than they are now, California progressives understand that real student debt reform has to go beyond interest rates and actually address the problem of college affordability.

Join Daily Kos and Credo: sign the petition asking all U.S. senators to support Elizabeth Warren's Bank On Student Loan Fairness Act, which will give students a 0.75% interest rate on their federal Stafford loans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Republican Solution (20+ / 0-)

    Will be to kick all the non-wealthy students out of college and send them to work at Wal-Mart and similar positions, so we can have the "favorable labor conditions" the workers of Bangladesh enjoy.  Close all the state universities - that way our taxes will go down or our tax dollars can go to worthier causes, such as new wars.  Make college exclusively for the "truly worthy", the children of the "job creators."

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:11:45 PM PDT

  •  Excellent post, Dante. (14+ / 0-)

    While the rate increase is a nasty kind of a wage cut for young people, you're absolutely right that we need to look beyond it to the roots of the problem. Ultimately, college needs to be free. Just as it was in California in the 1960s, just as it still is today in Scotland.

    So in that sense I like the California Middle Class Scholarship because it heads in that direction, using general taxes to move back in the right direction of free college. I like it a lot better than the Oregon "Pay It Forward" proposal that's currently in vogue, because the Oregon plan still requires students alone to pay for school. The method is much less onerous than the status quo, but it doesn't go in the right direction.

    A young person should never have to dig into their own pockets, or their parents' pockets, or take out a loan in order to afford a college education. It should be free, just as health care, child care, and so many other important things ought to be free.

    I will haunt you. It is on like Donkey Kong. - SF Supervisor Chris Daly

    by robert cruickshank on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:11:53 PM PDT

    •  agree (5+ / 0-)

      I had already written this essay before I found out about the Oregon plan. And yes--while there are things to like about the Oregon idea, it still leaves students on the hook for the costs, while just taxing them for those costs in a different way.

      We need to look at eliminating these costs to level the playing field of access to education and the social mobility that is supposed to come with it.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:15:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Student loans are a tax on middle-class... (10+ / 0-)

      The huge tuition increases, and states shifting from subsidizing their colleges to lessen taxes on wealthy (and increasingly throwing costs on to tuition), have been a growing and disproportionate tax on the middle-class.  

      We are "taxed" through paying for preschool, health insurance, lack of paid family leave, and college tuition.  So, in reality, the 99% in U.S. pay a higher (or equal) percentage of income tax than people in most other first world nations - and yet live without a safety net with the burden thrown to the individual, rather than the collective.

      We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them." - Albert Einstein

      by CarolinW on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:00:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. (5+ / 0-)

        It's not only the increase in student loan rates, although that's bad enough.  It's the decrease in state support for public education, which forces many public universities to increase tuition, which forces many students to take out more loans, etc.

        And that's not even counting the corporatization of academia, which I would argue contributes to this vicious cycle as well.

        •  And the decrease in state support (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aunt Martha

          Is a secondary domino, which fell after the federal support for state colleges was decimated under Reagan.

          The wealth that has so rapidly accrued to the 1% over the past few decades has come directly out of programs that used to support education, health care, housing, and food.

          The right wing shot Robin Hood, giving Prince John unfettered access to all the money in the kingdom.

    •  everything should be free (0+ / 0-)

      just say it.  Especially beer.

      My parents had to pay for my education, but not to the tune that parents do today.  I think it was $333 per quarter to go to Univ of California in 1975.  Plus room and board.

      Higher Ed should not be free.  You should have to pay something for it, if only to make you value the opportunity you have and try to make the most of it.  

      I agree that the Oregon plan is flawed...but simply saying we should all get a go to college free card, but DO pass GO and DO collect $200 dollars, is just the sort of pie in the sky non-thinking that detracts from this site.

      I would prefer some sort of Americorps service as a way to pay for your college education.

      Cause he gets up in the morning, And he goes to work at nine, And he comes back home at five-thirty, Gets the same train every time.

      by Keith930 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:55:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The ultimate problem is that NOTHING is free (0+ / 0-)

      And deciding that the government should absorb everything that has become very expensive (healthcare, college, etc) won't do anything except make those things more expensive, and then permanently put the taxpayer on the hook for it.

      The problem that must be solved is the exponentially increasing cost of college, NOT who will pay the exponential costs, NOR the interest paid on loans for the exponential costs.

      •  Real world experience proves otherwise (0+ / 0-)
        won't do anything except make those things more expensive, and then permanently put the taxpayer on the hook for it.
        In every nation in the world in which education and health care are publicly funded (and therefore free up-front), the costs of both tuition and healthcare are lower, and the outcomes are better.
        •  That only works one way. (0+ / 0-)

          If you have public funding of services before they become very expensive, then yeah, you can control costs.

          Deciding AFTER things are expensive that the govt should take over funding is a recipe for disaster.

          •  I highly doubt it (0+ / 0-)

            When the exorbitant expense is largely caused by unnecessary administrative overhead (since when does a state college president need to pull down a few mil per year?), switching to public funding can easily eliminate the largest cost drivers, thereby reducing the cost drastically while maintaining service level. In addition, the cost of tuition has risen steadily in direct relation to the cutting of federal and state subsidies. Restoring those public funding sources would cause a concommitant reduction in tuition.

  •  I like what Oregon is doing too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, TheFatLadySings

    I fully agree with this, and I believe that we should make higher education free, based on a student's talents, accomplishments, and willingness to worry. This would free students to go where their interests and talents can be best used and would be a huge upward jolt to our economy. How can we compete with other countries if our biggest resources — our people's creativity, skills and intellect — get squandered based on finances.

    Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

    by anastasia p on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:16:10 PM PDT

    •  I should add (7+ / 0-)

      that I don't have a horse in this race because I'm a baby boomer with no kids — but in a sense we all have a horse in this race if we care about our country's future.

      I was one of the lucky ones whose parents were able to pay for all my college expenses. But even my classmates who were not so fortunate could work ten or fifteen hours a week during the school year and full time during the summer and pay ALL their tuition and expenses. And this as at a small, private liberal arts school.

      Today you couldn't come close to making a dent even at a public university even assuming you could find a job that paid more than minimum wage. Or find a job at all.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:19:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right (6+ / 0-)

        to say nothing of professional educations like law degrees, which exacerbate this problem.

        oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

        Twitter: @DanteAtkins

        by Dante Atkins on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:22:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, a personal story (10+ / 0-)

          Since my parents set aside money for our educations starting when we were babies, we had the ability to get any education we wanted. It would have funded medical school debt-free.

          So my sister graduated from law school debt-free. As a result, she was able to pursue her passion, defending the have-nots of our society. She recently retired after a career as a public defender (with a brief detour to do anti-death penalty work). It's a decent living but not well paid enough to tackle mountains of student debt. A student with such law school debt is going to be frantically searching for a job looking for tax loopholes for rich people or defending clients like Monsanto. No matter what their conscience tells them, their debt tells them differently.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

          by anastasia p on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:47:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm still pissed off when I remember John Edwards (6+ / 0-)

        saying "I worked my way through college and it didn't hurt me a lick." So that's your plan for everybody, John? That if you don't have some time and connections to be able to work your way through college, you're just SOL? When I was an undergrad trying to get into medical school, I was doing about 110 hours a week between in class and studying after class. After knocking off about an hour and a half a day 5 days a week to get back and forth, that left just barely seven hours a day to deal with every other function of living INCLUDING SLEEP. Maybe John did work that hard to get into law school, but I doubt it if he had time for a job. I sure as hell didn't - nor time for much of anything else either. I would fervently hope that, somehow, we could do better.

        Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

        by OrdinaryIowan on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:53:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Have two kids, one in college one still in high (5+ / 0-)

        school. My daughter just got a full merit scholarship for this year, that ends up covering her tuition next year too. We're very grateful because tuition costs were really hard to handle. My son is very talented at math and science but he's just entering his junior year in High School. I'm hoping that his great grades and high scores will earn him a scholarship as well.

        I got through college on a mixture of need based and merit scholarships. Couldn't have made it without the help. I think we should make high quality education available to all children. I don't see the need to be "non-partisan." I support policies that help people. If one party is going to support those policies, and the other is going to spend all its time trying to keep people from voting, well then, i know who I am going to support.

  •  Bring down the cost of college, make non-college (5+ / 0-)

    training good, available, and affordable.

    College has become a bad deal for many students as it is -- offering a diluted product at great cost.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:22:19 PM PDT

      •  It kind of is, isn't it? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings, Whatithink

        Maybe we need to examine junior colleges -- call them something else, even.

        The idea of a "junior college" seems to be something inferior to "real" college.  In fact, it may be superior for many people and many things.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:47:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even junior (community) college (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jck, Aquarius40, snacksandpop, Dodgerdog1

        is suffering from pressures of funding cuts, tuition increases, and being a "diluted product." Our local community college has seen a staggering increase in non-tenure, especially way underpaid adjunct (part-time) faculty. It's also seen a spate of lavish new buildings,  which earned the recently retired president extravagant kudos from the local corporate community, which was probably secretly celebrating at how wages were brought down and the union was weakened.

        Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

        by anastasia p on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:50:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, there's a new development at SF Jr. College (3+ / 0-)

        which has been refused accreditation this next year.

        There are some interesting questions arising about the integrity and conflicts of interest present for the accrediting body.  

        It is starting to look like the accreditors may be doing some 'dirty work' for the for profit institutions that compete with the public Jr. college.  

        Put the Jr. College out of business in the culinary, medical, dental, and other occupational fields, and you force people over to the overpriced for profit tech training sectors.  

        Not good.

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris said the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges notified City College officials of its verdict in a letter. The commission said the public college, which enrolls 85,000 full- and part-time students on nine campuses and two centers, had failed to fix problems with financial management, instructional standards, library services and other areas after it was put on a probationary "show-cause" list last year.
          Do you want to go to this school? What is a degree from such an institution worth?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 07:05:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The actual course work and teachers (0+ / 0-)

            and quality of training is still actually very good.  Note that all the items noted were at the administrative level.

            Many many of the problems found last year were corrected over this past year.

            Integrity of the board members and their interests in for-profit schools is being questioned.  

  •  That first advantage isn't a big deal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lasgalen Lothir
    We're talking about a system that gives wealthy students a triple advantage—more choice of elite schools because financial aid isn't an issue, no extra stress about working while trying to finish school and no debt eating up paychecks afterward.
    "Elite schools" are just expensive schools.  There's no special 1%er version of the laws of physics that you get to learn at Princeton, and a calculus class at NIU and a calculus class at Princeton are taught the same basic way.  

    I got a Ph.D. at an ivy league school, and I noticed that a lot of the rich students, while otherwise nice, all seemed indoctrinated into this capitalistic belief that cheaper things have to be lousy, regardless of the reason for the price.  So if you have two similar colleges with similar operating budgets, and one of them has a 50% tuition discount from a state government subsidy, and the other is free to hike prices in response to demand, then the latter college becomes "elite" and the former college becomes the place you might send your kids if you're a failure of a parent.

    Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

    by Caj on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:23:45 PM PDT

    •  disagree (6+ / 0-)

      elite schools are breeding farms for networking and connections--meeting "the right people" who can tie you in to the right opportunities.

      If you could have gotten into an elite school on merits, but you can't afford it and have to go to a lesser-tier school instead, you're missing out not only on a prestigious name on your degree and your resume, but also on the networking and connections that so often provide more lucrative employment opportunities.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:27:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What a ridiculous way to make connections (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lasgalen Lothir, Odysseus

        Princeton tuition is 40K a year, more than many public universities charge for a full four years.  So an extra 120K to "meet the right people?"

        I'm sorry, but you can go meet the right people for a lot less money.  Hell, just go live in Princeton after graduating from NIU, rent a house with some students and ingratiate yourself into the eating club scene.  It will cost you far less than $120,000.

        Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

        by Caj on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:37:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many ritzie law firms (9+ / 0-)

          Will hire a graduate of Harvard, Princeton or Yale Law School, regardless of GPA, over a graduate of the state law school who finishes in the top 5% of his class and is an editor of the Law Review.  This is what I faced when I finished law school.  

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

          by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:46:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Minor quibble: Princeton doesn't have a law school (3+ / 0-)

            That being said, if ritzy law firms or country clubs decide to exclude 99%ers, the solution is not for 99%ers to borrow and spend nearly a quarter million dollars so they can hang with a bunch of rich douchebags.

            Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

            by Caj on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:55:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  invisible privilege (4+ / 0-)

              I heard your same argument from a MIT/Harvard PhD back in the early 90s (and elite east coast prep schools from a family where all the siblings graduated from Harvard).

              "In [his] experience," what mattered was the student's efforts, not the university. Implied, that he believed his success would be exactly the same if he hadn't come from a privileged background. The privilege was irrelevant; he was practically a self-made man.

        •  Sorry, but Dante is right (4+ / 0-)

          Look at any elite business or group or profession (even comedy writers!) and you will see the advantages that accrue from such connections, connections you will not make at your state U football factory.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

          by anastasia p on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:52:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But I think you're missing the point (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Lasgalen Lothir

            Regardless of the extra connections you get from going to a snooty school, they simply aren't worth the difference in tuition.  You can make those connections for far less than $120,000.  

            Even if you couldn't, it's simply not a good reason for a student to overborrow and overspend by an insane amount.  If I need a degree from Vanderbilt to get into the right snooty circles, then who needs to hob-nob in the right snooty circles?  The goal of college is not to provide a ticket to elite social circles, it's to provide an education and a career opportunity, and a degree from the University of Minnesota provides both without a $200,000 debt.

            Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

            by Caj on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:41:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you kidding? (0+ / 0-)

              People pick these schools and go into debt for this very reason. I have a good friend who was terrified she would get passed over for grad school because she attended a CA state school to pick up her BA in Art History and the only reason she picked is beacuse she gave up her summer traveling around giving speeches at conferences with a tenured professor who knew those who admitted to the grad school and she could use her as a reference. It IS a huge networking bonus, one she paid about 100k to have the advantage of attending and went on using more networking. She now works in DC maintaining various monuments, rubbing elbows with huge donors, and opening new museums. She felt it paid off.

              •  Doesn't that prove my point? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lasgalen Lothir

                You're telling me that your friend went to a CA state school, and she still got into a prestigious grad school by going to conferences and being academically productive.  

                Doesn't that contradict this religion of expensive things, that tells us we must go to an "elite" school for the prestige and name recognition and connections?

                In fact, I did the same thing as your friend:  I went to a regional state school in IL, and then got involved in research, submitted some papers and went to a few conferences.  This got me internships and informal offers from professors to apply to their schools, and I got into one.  I didn't need to do an undergrad at an "elite" school to do this.

                Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

                by Caj on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:35:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  If only more people had the courage to do (0+ / 0-)

          things like this!!

  •  As governor of California Ronald Reagan had (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolinW, jck, Aquarius40, snazzzybird

    no qualms about instituting tuition and fees for resident students who had attended public colleges and universities tuition-free prior to that time.  He said students would not vote for him anyway, so what the hell (rough paraphrase).  The GOP has generally dismissed the importance of the nation's young people because they did not vote in large numbers, and frankly the GOP just doesn't like young people because they themselves can't be them any longer and because youth are messy, idealistic, weird, wired and generally anti-authoritarian.  The GOP works for the bankers, and besides, those youth must be punished in some subtle way, never mind that they and their parents are taxpayers.
    The GOP's so-called student loan plan needs to be placed in the town square along with a mallet where folks who see the underlying toxic scheme can whack away at it so it will not survive as cover for GOP candidates who want to point to their plan as an example of their love of college students.  They have no concern for America's future nor for its present, and this becomes increasingly apparent to increasingly educated students.  It is only the idealized, romanticized, and airbrushed past of the Reagan years that makes the GOP swoon.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:26:11 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't higher ed have a lobbying arm? (0+ / 0-)

    I mean, besides those shyster for-profit colleges.

    •  well, yeah (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      except, the lobbying arm isn't designed to get people to go, it's designed to make money. Why would private institutions--or public university regents, for that mater--lobby to make entry less expensive? That is something that has to be advocated for from the outside.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:34:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Meanwhile, take a look at the accrediting bodies (0+ / 0-)

        for the colleges.  Many of them are funded by the member schools, which are more and more made up by for profit institutions.  

        There will an increasing problem with accreditation coming up over the next few years, I am sure, for the publicly funded schools and those that aren't adept at pulling the political strings.  

        The whole arena of higher education is at risk.

  •  When I graduated, a passbook savings account (16+ / 0-)

    paid more interest than my student loans cost. We talked about whether it was ethical to have a savings account if you had a balance on your student loans.

    These old people in the congress have no idea, no freaking idea, how much harder it is for kids to go to college now than their generation.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:35:11 PM PDT

  •  I Just Got a Note from Speaker Boehner About This (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And I quote:

    •  Interest rates on student loans doubled on July 1:  The rate hike “follow[ed] top Senate Democrats’ rejection of a bipartisan compromise supported by the president.” We could have easily avoided this. Here’s how.
    • “Republicans have acted”: “Republicans have passed common-sense legislation mirroring the president’s plan to stop student loans from doubling and make college more affordable,” said Speaker Boehner.
    • “Now we need the Democratic-controlled Senate to act”: Rep. Jenkins called on Senate Democrats to stop playing politics and pass bipartisan student loan reform when they return to work this week.
    • Students deserve smarter solutions: Compare the current student loan program with the bipartisan plan passed by the House that “reduces current rates for all college borrowers and saves students up to $1,413.”

    So it's all those nasty Senate Democrats' fault.  Hmmmmm.

    Someday soon Republicans are going to drown Grover Norquist - in a bathtub.

    by nuketeacher on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 03:56:38 PM PDT

  •  Such a mess (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, Ramoth, TheFatLadySings

    I am ashamed at what we are doing on this front. Our politicians are complete morons and totally out of touch with reality.

  •  There was a story about this and the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, TheFatLadySings

    interviewer was at a local campus.  The kids are worried about it but they're a lot more worried about how much the cost of education for them keeps climbing.  

    That's where the solution should come from, the cost.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:09:42 PM PDT

    •  I agree. Simply finding new ways to pay for (0+ / 0-)

      the cost doesn't change the overall cost to attend. This is where our efforts should lie. But one other thing I think people are overlooking is that if we make colleges "free" but costly private colleges are maintained, these will become the new gold standard by which those students will be the only ones  in the club with connections. I fear it will be a two tiered system of haves and have nots even for an education. I am not sure it would be wise to mandate private institutions as to what their tuition should be but it does concern me. But any step forward right now is a good one, and should be taken!

  •  Gosh, if only there were a Party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ramoth, TheFatLadySings

    that thought higher education, as a public benefit, ought to be free . . .

    . . . maybe in Europe?

    Not even there anymore.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 04:24:11 PM PDT

  •  Target all GOP who made this happen in 2014 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snazzzybird, Odysseus

    ALL of the applicable ones need to be defeated for re-election.  Don't care how red their districts are.  

  •  As someone who got his degree in 2013 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, Odysseus

    There are options that don't need thousands of dollars in debt.  BUT it is not easy.  Pell Grants (which have been cut), Scholarships (many go unused, but takes lots of effort to track down and apply and get accepted for.  I had three for $500 to $1,000 each that took about 10 to 20 hours each to apply for), and part time college (so you can work and go to school).

    I also have the GI Bill and a Student Loan Repayment program from military service. (one of the smart things I did back in 1988 was to sign up for the GI Bill even though I "knew" I would not need a college education.)

    I started saving up a small amount from my three part time jobs each paycheck, $5 to $25 for a year before taking classes.  This covered the cost of one to two classes.  With Grants, Scholarships and work I got my Associates and half my upper level classes with out borrowing a dime.  It took eleven years.

    I used some of my GI Bill to finish off the BSc in a year and half.  Other wise I would be looking at graduation in 2017.

    It was not easy, but I also saw classmates who were taking out as much student loan as they could because it was "good debt".  They used it to live on campus, buy food, computers, and cloths. (and beer - but only those over 21 of course).  Several of the people I graduated with who did the four year (most cases five year) program were leaving with $50 to $75 k in debt.  Not one has found a job that pays more than $32k a year in the degree field.   One became an insurance sales rep while they look for work in the field and is making more.  I found a job in a related field that uses the technical training I had before (Paramedic) for just $16.50 an hour.

    Personally I can't see how you could plan on paying off $75k in debt.  I really don't think it is the loan rates that is the problem but rather the cost of college that requires such loans. (and it is just dumb to borrow to live and eat on campus in my mind.)

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:19:42 PM PDT

    •  precisely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I was one of the lucky ones: I had a full-ride scholarship (the so-called "Regents Scholarship") from UCLA. Others I know had generous parents who had the means to cover these costs.

      In all of our cases, not having tens of thousands of dollars in debt is what allowed us to pursue dreams and strike out on an entrepreneurial path. If I had graduated with debt, I doubt I would have been able to pursue the path that has led to me writing these Sunday features.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:37:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually.... (0+ / 0-)
    ...while Republicans chose to sacrifice them on Ayn Rand's free market altar
    Obama has proposed to do the same.  His plan is to let student loan rates to float with market rates after a 2 year hiatus.  He's expert at bait and switch, if you haven't noticed.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 05:45:13 PM PDT

    •  Market rates? (0+ / 0-)

      Why is bad for student loans to float with market rates?
      If market rates soar, should you be able to borrow for college at rates below what your savings account pays? All other interest rates are linked to the market rate, aren't they?
      Yes, rates would go up over time, but projections of going up above 6.8 percent after 10 years is not worse than going to 6.8 right now. Especially since it will only do that as rates for the whole economy go up.

      I agree the real problem is total costs. Keeping borrowing costs low just tries to mask the real problem.

      The Empire never ended.

      by thejeff on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:36:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Because if the government continued to (0+ / 0-)

        subsidize them, they would be lower than market.  Plus 6.8 is relatively low for an un-collatealrized student loan.  Keep in mind we are now at historic lows for interest rates.

        The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

        by accumbens on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 11:31:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Tuition alone tripled between 1992 and 2012 for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, ferg

    students at California's state colleges and universities. Somehow I don't think that their education has tripled in value.

    When I read of Brown's action all that I could think was "Duh' if we hadn't raised the tuition so high, we wouldn't need to pay it down."

  •  republicans are the problem and they need (0+ / 0-)

    rw radio to do half of what they do. and our universities are major supporters of rw radio. which has been pushing for 20 years for privatization and attacking public ed, student and school funding, and student aid, and recently played a major part in getting us sequestration. makes sense.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jul 07, 2013 at 06:08:45 PM PDT

  •  I bribed, bullied, and badgered (0+ / 0-)

    my academically gifted (but often unmotivated) son to apply himself in high school so as to increase his chances of receiving academic scholarships. We earn too much to receive any meaningful financial aid and too little to be able to foot the entire bill for him. It worked--he starts in the fall after receiving full tuition plus a generous stipend at the school of his choice. We're out a few grand a year because the stipend didn't cover all of the housing costs, but it's manageable.  His sisters are far less adept, academically speaking, and will likely attend community college. We have high hopes for all of them, but we're unwilling to let them start their lives burdened by enormous student loan debt.

  •  Even more depressing are the millions of adults (0+ / 0-)

    who took out student loans after losing their jobs so that they could improve their "skill set"....which turned out to be more debt for them and more profits for the colleges and banks....

  •  Senate proposals (0+ / 0-)

    It was Senator Jack Reed, not Reid who proposed extending the 3.4% rate for 2 years.    thank you

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