If you’re a recent high school graduate looking forward to college in the fall this year, you might be a bit troubled by the student loan increase that happened at the beginning of the month. July 1st saw the interest rates on student loans go from 3.4% to 6.8%, with no one in our government doing much to stop it; until now at least, when the a proposal going out to reverse the increase.
After looking at the numbers, you might think those are pretty steep rates that will come into play when you decide between your colleges of choice. Will it be Stanford or Michigan? Or maybe one of the more specialized Global Studies programs listed at Cornerstone.edu? Regardless of whether or not you plan on attending a traditional campus or an online education portal, you will still need to get your financial aid together in order to pursue your degree.
And, while the loan increase is a bit of a bummer, it’s the least of our worries. The increase only affects you, the new college freshman, and not those of us still paying off students from when we were your age. In terms of how much more students will likely be paying, again, it’s not that much. Maybe $30 more a month. That doesn’t sound too bad right? So, what’s the problem?
The problem isn’t the loan rate increase, as most politicians will cite; the problem is the ever increasing cost for college itself. Consider that student loan debt has eclipsed that of credit card debt (and even auto loan debt in the United States). What was once seen as a rite of passage and an essential course of action in terms of a person’s education – college – is now a cesspool of students worried about their financial futures. They may be young, but they understand that they will leave with thousands of dollars in debt and very few employment prospects for how to pay off this debt.
The problem here isn’t the loan increase, it’s the fact that our very education system is completely and utterly broken. From primary school that should be teaching our children to enter into college to the very thing that many now can’t begin to achieve, there is a fundamental issue that isn’t being addressed. Oh, the politicians have discussed it, but it seems the solution is more testing; more standard tests that can easily be memorized and spoon-fed to students everywhere.
College professors have complained that students who enter college now are severely behind on subjects like English, Math, and Science and are lacking in critical thinking; you know, the stuff they should be learning in high school and below. So, what’s the solution? More adequate teachers? More parental involvement with their children’s studies? Less restriction when it comes to school versus experience within the business world?
The solution is probably all three, but we’ll never know as this issue – the breakdown of the lower schooling and the seemingly unreachable prospect of higher education – is masked by minor things, such as the rate increase. The more stunning question is why isn’t our government isn’t doing anything about it. Well, consider that the government makes money off federal loans and students who default. Essentially, the money for college isn’t being spent on better learning, but on paying off our debts.
Food for thought as you fill out your college applications this summer.
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