It’s not perfect, and in fact, it’s not great, but it’s a deal. A group of Senators came together in agreement to have next year interest rates remain at 3.8% and instituted a cap for the loan rates. Under this new deal, undergrads will be capped at 8.25%; graduate students will have a cap of 9.5% and parents, in a close third of 10.5%. While this plan still has to go through the Senate for full approval, lawmakers are hopeful that it will pass through quickly, and be allowed to change as needed in the future.
Needs surrounding student loans have become a bargaining chip for the temper tantrums of lawmakers in the U.S. Summer rolls around and suddenly there is a crisis on Capitol Hill, and no solutions to be had. Individuals need some realistic assurance that investing in their future, will in fact be some sort of investment. And to be honest, as a country, this should be a goal in order to better our future needs. We cannot expect minimum wage to stay the same, salaries not to increase, tuition to skyrocket, and loans to triple, and yet somehow manage to come out alright. Few professions have any sort of real tuition forgiveness programs, or situations to assist borrowers to pay off their loans and move forward with their lives. If you look at loan forgiveness for social workers, you’ll find a couple of projects that can offer forgiveness in exchange for a number of years at specific sites. Those sites are few and far between, and starting salaries are even lower than the abysmal prospects of an average line worker. How does that reinvest in social work? The student debt issue is directly impacting who are buying homes or staying in a profession. Many many mistake this asking as a means to shirk a responsibility. Nowhere here will you find a call for a ‘free ride’, but there must be systems in place in order to not further burden our population.
The student loan bubble isn’t going away. And while the latest deal may prevent that bubble from popping for a while longer, we are still in a dangerous situation for the future economy of the country. Many attribute the housing crash of 2008 to a series of irresponsible housing and mortgage practices, including the deregulation of banking, interest rates, and the corporate welfare system. The student loan bubble is predicted to be worse. Those who have grown interested in politics will find less of a democratic or republic state in which the people focus the policy, and more of the corporate oligarchy that dictates our lives. The real question is who is being looked out for?
By: Courtney Kidd, LMSW
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