[Disclaimer: When it comes to writing essays based solely on conjecture, I despise the exercise. That said, I don't mind those who make predictions about the future. In fact, I quite enjoy reading such things, especially when written by clever, smart, thoughtful folks. Nevertheless, I recently told a history student - who wanted to write an essay of this nature - that I steer clear of such essayistic-hypothesizing. Alas, I am going against my inclinations. But there is a reason in doing so. I am far more interested in hearing your remarks about the possibility of a Romney-Ryan win. So, please! Do share].
The election is over. The celebrating, the hangovers - for both the winners and the losers - have finally subsided. The Obama team is packing up, and newspapers are crammed with headlines, such as, "Romney Wins By Modest Margin of Votes," "Obama Now Out, Romney Now Up," "Democrats Lose After Just Four Years in White House, Making the White House Home: Romneys Already Renovating," etc. Already weary from the pre-election, and now the post-election, media-extravaganza of theorizing upon theorizing upon theorizing, most of the public find their eyes glazing over when reading these headlines.
In fact, the majority of Americans continue to worry about why they are still unemployed, struggling to cover the bills, or fretting - if they are one of the lucky ones to be employed - about their job security.
|Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP|
Then there are those who are part of the indentured educated class, a class that continues to grow significantly after each graduating class joins the workforce. If these are the headlines, and Romney is heading to office, how are they feeling? What about prospective students who were advised months ago by Romney to "shop around" for colleges when it comes to taking on student loan debt? Not only that, Romney has made it clear that he will reinstate something similar to now the defunct FFEL program again. (On a side note, even though Obama's efforts to cut out these middlemen and get rid of the program, student lenders are fairing better than they had while it existed. But that's another story). With Romney now in office, Bush-era appointees, like Bill Hansen, who was Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education, will assume power again. Hansen played a significant role in boosting the for-profit industry, a sector of higher education that has the highest default rates and higher number of college drop-outs. Guess who's picking up the cost for those defaults? Guess who's subsidizing this pernicious industry? The American taxpayer. As reporter Kay Steiger recently mentioned, the industry receives over $32 billion in federal student aid. AEM has discussed the problematic - and outright unethical - practices ruthlessly carried out by the for-profits on many occasions. However, full credit for coverage of the 2-year study that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee published must be given to Steve Burd - at the New America Foundation - who has provided concise, in-depth analysis on this recent report.
As Steiger notes, Chairman of HELP, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), released the report. Harkin is one of the few leaders on the Hill who has not only acknowledged that there is a student lending crisis (at least in my view), but is actively trying to come up with viable solutions to solve it.
|Photo Credit: Bill Neibergall/The Register|
So, if Romney and Ryan win, what does this mean for those of us with student loan debt? Furthermore, what does it mean for those who are currently in school, and for those who are planning to go to school? It is well-known that Ryan is no fan of Pell. While higher ed insiders apparently don't think there will be drastic changes to allocations for higher education, which incidentally, is paltry when compared to how much we spend on the Defense Industry and the Pentagon, it is quite possible that that Pell Grants would be axed, severely axed. Of course, in this case, we are talking about students in school or planning to attend school. It is hard to say if anything would be done to help the indentured educated class.
With all that said, what do you think? If Romney wins the election, do you think much will change when it comes to those of us drowning in student loan debt? Or perhaps you think it doesn't matter one way or the other. That is, you are so cynical that you think things will only worsen, regardless of who is in office.