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.