Higher student debt damages America


In his State of the Union address on Jan. 25, President Barack Obama called this our "Sputnik" moment — the United States is in a position of uncertainty on the global stage and the nation's only choice is to rise to the occasion or face some grave consequences. Unfortunately, Obama's plans for the budget may prevent some of us from making ourselves competitive enough to achieve success. Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew has announced that, starting in 2012, interest on graduate student loans will begin to work differently. As of now, interest does not compile on graduate student loans until after the student graduates. However, in Obama's new budget plan, interest will begin accruing while students are still attending school. As it stands, students are already saddled with astronomical levels of debt when they graduate. This plan will just make things worse.

The president is effectively making higher education more expensive, at a time when we most need it to be less expensive. As Obama stressed in is State of the Union address, our nation needs to invest more in education, so as to produce a population of well-educated people who can successfully take on all sorts of jobs and push the United States to a higher level. However, in making graduate school more expensive, Obama may end up doing just the opposite –— rather than create a well-equipped workforce, this move may create a smaller, less adept population of workers. Many people will be unable to attend graduate school because of the increased amount of debt they will have to shoulder just to attend. Combine this higher debt with the fact there is no guarantee one will find a good job upon graduating and it seems you have a recipe for decreased graduate school attendance. With that comes an unprepared American population who may end up being unable to meet the challenge of this "Sputnik" moment.

President Obama needs to realize that, while fixing the budget is important, so is higher education. The current higher education system is broken enough and in drastic need of repair in many ways. This plan will only break it more. If this is Obama's definition of investing in education, then we have some doubts about the future of the country.


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