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Representative Virginia Foxx’s (R-NC) latest contribution to the student loan debate is this statement:
“It is not the role of Congress to make college more affordable.”
The Huffington Post elaborates:
"I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there's no reason for that," Foxx continued. "We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' You don't sit on your butt and have it dumped in your lap."
In today’s world, college affordability is a myth, or at best a great story to tell from the good old days. The excessive – yet surprisingly sustained – spike in the cost of higher education paved the way for the artificial creation of a new social class: students weighed down with debt.

And to make matters worse, the Senate passed a student loan compromise bill that will eventually cause rates for student loans to rise above 6.8%, showing how members of Congress have lost touch with reality.

It’s easy for Rep. Foxx to make this claim. She pursued a college education at a time when a degree was significantly cheaper. Exactly how cheap was it? Rachel Fishmann from The Quick & The Ed has the skinny on this:

That’s right, Virginia Foxx paid $87.50 in tuition. That was the price of a full semester’s tuition at UNC in 1961.  The Chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training is completely out of touch with the very different realities facing today’s students.

 be fair, prices have gone up a lot since 1961.  If you take that $87.50 and adjust it for inflation, the actual dollar amount is a whopping $671.30 per semester. Including tuition and fees, Representative Foxx would have paid $279 for the academic year—about $2,140 today. That’s about equivalent to what students pay right now at community colleges, not public four-year institutions—especially not public flagships.

College tuition and fees have increased over 500% since the early 1980s – faster than family income, health care and inflation. But Rep. Foxx’s actions are making it more expensive for students to take out loans to attend the same state schools she attended.

Institutions need the proper incentives to redesign their policies, and it is up to Congress provide these incentives. We need Congress to step up its game and put forth policies that can make college an affordable reality for more than just the very elite. Comments like the one from Rep. Foxx are just plain unhelpful for students -- and completely disconnected from reality.

Authored by Samir Rachid, Cross-Posted at I AM NOT A LOAN.

Originally posted to i am not a loan on Tue Jul 30, 2013 at 02:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE and Youth Kos 2.0.

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