Earlier this month, GOP Congressman Eric Cantor introduced a strategy to help reduce government spending. His solution: force college students who are receiving loans to repay them while they are still attending college rather than upon the completion of their time in school.
It seems like a pretty far out way of thinking. Mr. Cantor would like to financially handcuff students who are already financially handcuffed trying to afford an education. Either Mr. Cantor dislikes college students or he just doesn’t know any better. I personally think Mr. Cantor is a decent human being. That said, he likely doesn’t know any better. The only other explanation is he doesn’t care about those struggling financially.
Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia's 7th Congressional District
Let’s take a closer look at what Mr. Cantor has presented us. Some college students, like myself, require financial assistance to go to school. If it were not for grants, scholarships, and loans, there would be a large section of young adults out of school. Using the University of Hawaii at Manoa as an example, we see that resident full-time tuition (12 credits or more) is roughly $4,500 for the Fall 2011 Semester. Out of state tuition comes in at about $12,000. Considering that UHM is considered a bargain for tuition, we still have college students paying at least $9k and up to $24k for a single school year. Take that number and expand that over five years (the typical amount of time to earn a Bachelor’s Degree), assuming tuition doesn’t increase, and we have total cost between $45-$120k. Anyone have that type of money lying around?
Are we expecting the parents of those students to pay for college? Continuing to use Hawaii as an example, the median household income from 2009 was $67k. That would mean the average family in Hawaii would need to spend roughly 67% of their income for an entire year just to pay for tuition for a single child. What if that family has multiple children? Let’s also not forget mortgage/rent, food, healthcare, transportation, and other costs associated with raising a family.
This is why the federal government offers financial assistance for college students. A healthy society needs educated citizens. Every past civilization has shown the need for an educated population. Mr. Cantor would seemingly like to end this goal.
If college students could afford to begin paying back their loans while still in school Mr. Cantor, there is a great chance these students wouldn’t be using loans or other financial aid in the first place. Common sense tells us that someone using these types of services is in need of them in the first place.
For all the talk about protecting our future, it is obvious that Mr. Cantor has not followed through on that campaign promise. His plan in no way helps protect our future. In fact, it puts our future at risk. This is not wise leadership Mr. Cantor.
Perhaps you are the one who needs to be in school.
*This post can also be found on The Young Writer’s Block.
Posted in community, economy, education, news, politics, special comment
Tagged college students, eric cantor, financial aid, Hawaii, manoa, republican, tuition, university of hawaii
A few days removed from the craziness that was election day, it is now time to sort through the rubble and see where we stand. There were some surprises and some close calls. The results nationally really was in stark contrast from the results in Hawaii. Nationally Republicans benefited from an electorate angry with the slow recovery of the economy. Locally, Republicans took a huge blow in their hopes of keeping control of the governor’s office. Now it’s time to break down a few of the winners and losers from this past election in Hawaii and on the mainland.
Congressman John Boehner is poised to become the new Speaker of the House. (clevescene.com)
The obvious national winners are the entire Republican Party after they 50+ seat pick up in the House and erasing the Democratic majority in the Senate. While falling short of controlling both houses, the GOP has a large majority in the House and will be able to prevent many of President Obama’s initiatives from moving forward. Ohio congressman, John Boehner is lining up to be the new Speaker of the House while Eric Cantor looks to become the new majority WHIP. A surprising national winner has to be Nevada Senator, Harry Reid. Reid was able to fend off a tough challenge from Republican candidate and TEA Party favorite, Sharon Angle to gain reelection and keep his spot as Senate Majority Leader.
In Hawaii, the winners have to be the Democratic Party. The 2010 elections solidified Hawaii’s long-standing tradition of being a blue state. In fact, Hawaii has the most lopsided state legislature of any state in the nation. 88% of all the members of the Hawaii state legislature are Democrats, beating out Rhode Island which sports 84%. Sen. Daniel Inouye cruised to a 50 point victory over his Republican challenger while Congresswoman Mazie Hirono easily won reelection with a 20 point margin. The real surprise came in Hawaii’s 1CD House race with incumbent Charles Djou(R) falling to Colleen Hanabusa(D) by 7 points. At the first printout, Djou trailed by about 4,000 votes. However, the subsequent printouts only put the Republican incumbent further behind. Hanabusa’s victory was the first time Hawaii voters had voted out a US Congressional incumbent.
But of course, the big winner was the Neil Abercrombie/Brian Schatz team. The Democratic team was able to trounce their GOP counterparts by nearly 100,000 votes. In fact, the final margin of victory was 17%. To make matter worse, of Hawaii’s 51 state house districts, Abercrombie was able to win 50 of the 51. It was surprising to many the sheer size of the victory for the long time US Congressman. Abercrombie single-handedly took down political giant, Mufi Hannemann and his GOP challenger, Duke Aiona. Abercrombie used an effective social media campaign to engage with the younger voters and was able to reestablish himself with the older voters whom he once represented while in the Honolulu City Council and Hawaii State Legislature.
Governor elect Neil Abercrombie cruised to an impressive 17 point victory on Election night. (daylife.com)
On a night where House Republicans picked up more than 50 seats and Senate Republicans came close to taking the majority, the obvious losers are the Democratic Party. Democrats across the nation suffered defeat and many incumbents fell. Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin saw his bid for reelection come up short. Feingold is best known for his efforts to reform immigration. The House Democrats will now be a highly outnumbered minority and will be at the will of Republicans. Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Reid will have some tough fights ahead now that he has a near stalemate with Republicans. President Obama must also be considered a loser of this election. He has now lost the majority in the House and has the prospects of a severely weakened Senate. Now more than ever will he need to sell his ideas to the public and work some magic if he hopes to have a second term.
Locally, the Hawaii GOP was not able to ride the so-called wave of change to victory. Hawaii Republicans are now left with only a single Senate seat and only a handful of House seats. Moreover, the Hawaii GOP invested heavily in the Djou and Aiona campaigns. However, their investments would not produce the returns they anticipated. A humiliating loss by Aiona was coupled with a bitter defeat for Djou. Many within the party felt 2010 was the best chance for Hawaii Republicans to take control of the government and to finally solidify itself as a major power in Hawaii. However, as the printouts were released, Republicans were left to wonder how and why this election turned out to be another drubbing from Hawaii Democrats.
The effects of this election will not be fully felt for another few years. However, one thing is certain: Hawaii really does buck national trends and chooses to do things a little differently. Whether this means a better Hawaii or something worse remains to be seen. At least we now have another couple of years to start the conversation of where our state and this country is heading and hopefully are able to find some solutions along the way.
Posted in community, economy, education, Election 2010, news, politics, religion
Tagged brian schatz, charles djou, Colleen Hanabusa, daniel inouye, democrat, duke aiona, eric cantor, governor elect, harry reid, Hawaii, hawaii governor, hawaii house, hawaii legislature, hawaii senate, immigration reform, john boehner, majority whip, mazie hirono, minority, Neil Abercrombie, president obama, republican, russ feingold, senate majority leader, speaker of the house, united state congress, united states, united states house of representatives, united states senate, wisconsin