Watching the presidential speech to Congress last night, I thought of a letter to write to Congress regarding student loan debt.
While he's helping everyone else out, including current students and parents of students, he's screwing over students and parents of recent grads who have ridiculous debt (schools didn't all the sudden get expensive overnight). Students could be 5 to 10 years out of college.
So here’s how to help:
1. Decrease interest rates on all federal student loans to 3% (to all graduates, or recent grads (5 -10 years). (Or there could be an income stipulation on that decrease.) This rate would be a fixed rate whether current loans are fixed or not. This could be an indefinite change, or temporary, but at least 5-10 years (my loans won’t be paid off for 25 years).
2. Offer loan consolidation to recent grads that do not have a job. (Since the Fed made a change last year, all private companies refuse to consolidate student loans because they were no longer profitable. Now the only way to consolidate is through the government and that requires you to have a job.)
3. Pay for interest accrued on student loans for those on unemployment. (This would work nicely in conjunction with #1). It could apply to those only in forbearance, those paying back loans while on unemployment or both.
Why this helps?
1. Defaulting on student loans will prove to be a huge hurdle when trying to revive the economy; these people will not be able to get loans for those big ticket items that help the economy rebound the most (house, car, etc.).
2. Decreasing student loan payments will help stimulate the economy, as the such a large portion of the country is a recent college grad (and more than likely struggles with large students loans). Moreover, these are the people that have the most power to stimulate the economy because they don't worry about kids, or savings or retirement (for the most part).
The 22-35 age bracket is so important to revitalizing the economy, particularly those with higher education, and that 700 billion dollar bill all but ignored us.
And as a friend mentioned Obama made mention of how important it is to further education, but how many people say "I'm not going to college because it's too expensive". Showing just how much you are willing to help graduates is a huge incentive. And a $2,500 tax break really isn't that fantastic when all's said and done, especially to a student and particularly because that break is only for parents, at its 10% at best.
It's not like I'm suggesting they forgive all debt, or any debt, but a decrease in interest. I mean, hello! How easy is that? These variable interests they have now on student loans are new as of last year, so by decreasing the interest rate on those now, it only helps those still in college...which has NOTHING to do with helping the economy. Basically, what the bill is saying is "Go to school, look we help. But you? You already paid for it, so fuck off and pay up”.
My friend’s suggestion? Send [the letter] direct to Mr. Obama himself. One letter a day (just like in Shawshank Redemption).