Like many other twentysomethings, I was watching the Daily Show the other night to see what news Jon Stewart and his crew were mocking/making sense of, and the middle segment hit a little close to home.
Obviously, this is meant to be a goof. Education is a wonderful thing, and encouraging people not to go to college because of high costs is an exaggeration for comedy. But behind the humor (and the wisdom that illustration may have been a bad degree program to pursue), The Daily Show nailed it – education is too expensive, and the costs are only going to go up.
Last year, Congress decided to keep interest rates on Stafford Loans and other student loans locked in around 3.4% – but like everything else Congress seems to do these days, this was only a temporary fix. The fight is going to start again in July, when the student loan rates are set to double to 6.8%. College is already far too pricey for many to attend, and this double in interest rates will put a higher education even farther out of reach for thousands of students and their families.
Thankfully, a progressive former professor got elected to the Senate this year, and wants to do something about this. For her first standalone bill in the Senate, Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced the Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act – a law designed to lower interest rates on student loans and make it easier for working class families and students to attend college. Check out this segment:
She makes a great point when she says that “We the taxpayers make an investment in our financial institutions. Can’t we make the same investment in students who are trying to get an education?”
I’ve talked before about how expensive it is to go to college, and the ramifications of student loans going forward – the consequences of a poor rising working class. And this bill would make a huge step towards making college more affordable for thousands more students, and make a significant investment in the middle class. We just need to get it passed.
Senator Warren is right on the money when she says “If the federal reserve can float trillions of dollars to large financial institutions for low interest rates to grow the economy, surely they can float the Department of Education the money to fund our students, keep us competitive, and grow our middle class.”
I encourage you to sign on to the Campaign for America’s Future and Daily Kos’s petition to support Elizabeth Warren’s bill here. Investing in our students, rather than our banks, and helping ambitious students – the scientists, teachers, writers, doctors, engineers and workers of tomorrow – get the training they need to compete, is a step towards a stronger middle class and a stronger economy.