Federal government should support student loans

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Monday, June 4, 2012
This is among commentaries submitted to The Gazette from students at Janesville’s Craig and Parker high schools who did field studies in either Washington, D.C., or Madison in Advanced Placement U.S. government courses taught by Joe Van Rooy.

Student loan debt has quickly surpassed credit card debt. Therefore, government officials must ensure increasing amounts of federal student aid for students and keep interest rates low on these loans.

Jeff Baker, an official within the Department of Education, expressed concerns regarding college expenses, saying, “The increasing cost (of college) is an unbelievable problem for this country.”

The Pell Grant was recently reformed to tighten qualifications and limit eligibility to a smaller percentage of low-income students. That makes them virtually unattainable for the middle class. Clearly, the Pell Grant’s priorities should be keeping funds from decreasing and offering aid to students who truly need it.

Furthermore, the amount of federal student loans being distributed with low interest rates should be increased. Recently, senators were unable to pass legislation maintaining current student loan interest rates at 3.4 percent; this will expire, making rates double to 6.8 percent.

As on many issues, Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on how to subsidize these loans. Thankfully, both parties agree that interest rates must be kept low. Democrats and Republicans must reach consensus and pass legislation extending the 3.4 percent rate. If not, even more students will struggle to finance their college educations.

America should be rewarding students for their willingness to pursue higher education and providing them with every opportunity. Sen. Herb Kohl said it best: “School is expensive, but it is Washington’s job to provide assistance for students.”

Last updated: 8:52 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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