Student loan system damages borrowers
These are dark days for University students. Not only are our job prospects frighteningly low, even though we have put in all the work that society says is required of us, but the amounts of debt we accumulate just to attend college are becomingly increasingly difficult to shoulder. Worst of all, there does not seem to be any help on the way. Instead, as The Daily Targum reported yesterday, grants are dropping dramatically while loans are rising to take their place. Sure, this works as a short-term fix. Students are receiving the money they need to pay for their term bills and continue their educations. However, in the long term, this system is positively disastrous, an almost surefire way to place a barrier between students and success in the “real world.”
What makes matters even worse is how silent the transition from grants to loans is. No one has been warning us about it. Many students find themselves losing grants without a word of warning, and they then have no choice but to accept the loans. Loans and grants should not be interchangeable like this. There is a crucial, almost life-altering difference between the two types of financial aid. Perhaps loans should not even count as financial aid — in many ways, they are the exact opposite of aid.
It is clear that, for the good of the future of our country as a whole, this system needs to be fixed immediately. For starters, lawmakers should look for ways to make student loans less unbearable. People should not have to worry about paying these loans back even if they are forced to declare bankruptcy. Private loans also should not live on in unfortunate cases where the borrower dies. These loans are basically inescapable as things stand now, and students are in dire need of protection.
There can be no future if the people who are tasked with leading that future — i.e., today’s students – cannot climb out from under the crushing weight of debt. It is bad enough that we’re facing a grim and foreboding economy these days. Must we face that economy with the added knowledge that we’re entering it with a severe handicap?