close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
 

October 8, 2015

Cost of education

Opinion

 
October 8, 2015

This September, millions of young Americans will start college, but at what cost? Each year, the collective student loan debt skyrockets as tuitions continue to rise and graduates compete for scarce jobs with stagnant wages. From 2011 to 2013, the amount of debt held by recent graduates increased a whopping 20 percent, reaching a total more than $1.2 trillion.
While Americans struggle to pay off their loans, big banks and financial institutions spend millions to influence elections and prevent policy solutions that might hinder their profits. Every year, Wall Street companies rake in almost $45 billion in revenue from higher education, largely derived from student loans.
In what is obviously a growing crisis in America, comes little relief from Washington. Young Americans and their families are desperate for a lifeline, while Congress continues to push their own agenda and that of their donors ahead of voters.
Last year, the student loan industry spent at least $4.5 million on lobbying efforts, followed by $1 million in political contributions. The collective lobbying efforts of the student loan industry, and the millions in lobbying donations, pay off by the billions. It should come as no surprise that the college lending industry relies on aggressive lobbying campaigns to block any efforts to overhaul or reform the system.
Pell Grants and similar needs-based financial aid programmes have decreased to the lowest amounts since the programmes’ launch, state spending on students has also dropped, leaving them with little choice but to take out loans to finance their education. On top of this, interest rates on private loans spiked during the 2000s, although the Treasury stepped in to stop the bleeding with a fixed 10-year rate.
While students cycle through various loan and repayment plans, the government continues to gain from its cosy relationship with student debt lenders. Through collection companies, the government raked in nearly $66 billion in

profit and is estimated to make $184 billion by 2019.
The current student loan system is broken. And money in politics continues to prevent legislation to fix it. It’s a prime example of what happens when businesses and government get too friendly, with little regard for those they represent.
Increased outside spending in elections is taking a toll on young Americans, and on the policies that directly affect them. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which lifted restrictions on corporate spending in elections, Wall Street institutions have nearly doubled their donations, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.
A major overhaul is needed to prevent further damage to our economy and to ensure that students and recent graduates have a say.
Students cannot afford to leave decision making to lawmakers beholden to big money interests. Higher education is not a business conquest and it should not be a honeypot for candidates and institutions looking for their next donation. It’s time to start demanding more disclosure and real reform that will place the interests of millions of American students above those of the one percent.
This article has been excerpted from: ‘The real cost of higher education’.
Courtesy: Commondreams.org

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus