Tuesday, March 23, 2010

So-called historic bill passed on student loan reform

I have made it clear to many of my readers and so forth, I think it's important to credit the recent turn of events with student loan reform. It is a step in the right direction. (And just so many of you are aware - because I've been asked many times - I am very, very familiar with this bill. It is my job to follow these things and be aware of what's happening on the Hill - that's what I do for you and thousands and thousands of others as a voluntary advocate. Even though I am gone, I remain committed to following press releases, being involved with conversations with student organizations, and keeping up with my trusted contacts in D.C.).

While I give it some credit, it offers nothing, absolutely nothing, for those who are:

(a) already in default,
(b) those who are on the brink of defaulting,
(c) and those who are simply struggling to make ends meet and pay their bills month-by-month.

Based upon the number of emails I am now receiving each week, the people I already know who fit the criteria I listed above, etc., etc., it feels like a big blow to millions and millions of people in the U.S. I have made it clear to Sec. Duncan in a recent e-mail that, "[the indentured educated class] comprise a large segment of the electorate who voted you and President Obama into office. We are enormously unhappy with both the Department of Education's lack of response to the student lending crisis and the utter silence from the White House. This is not change that I voted for - this is more of the same."

Of course, I will give Sec. Duncan's office a wee-bit of credit. I heard back from an actual human being. Nevertheless, it was a stifled response, and I have heard nothing since. I will follow up with said human being because all of you deserve that. Indeed, you deserve to know why, even though you are trapped by student loans, you are not receiving anything back from you government. Not even some form letters!

There was a point recently when a contact accused me of spreading anti-government sentiment and despair. Those two things couldn't be farther from the truth. I am thinking that government should be helping more of its people. After all, it's for the people and by the people, right?

I will be honest: I have lukewarm feelings about this recent bill. I think much more can and must be done. That's why we must continue to fight.

Perhaps those in the White House are tone deaf to higher education issues because it's not their specialty? That's a pretty good quest. If that's the case, we must think of new strategies to make our voices heard loudly (is that even possible? I'd say we've been quite vocal).

My, I don't say . . . you're having a hard time hearing? Well, don't worry, we're gonna turn up the volume for you!


Anonymous said...

Well put. I am in default and $100,000+ in debt. I am defaulted. And terrible credit so I cannot even finish my degree. What will it take? Haha the government might not be hard at hearing but very good at ignoring.

John in Boston said...

I'm really disspirited right now.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that those in office are 'tone deaf'to higher education because it is not their specialty. I think they have no idea what it is like to have to pay the unbelievable and downright criminal amounts of interest, fees and penalties for an education. Take a good look at the House and Senate, the majority of them are 60+. They got their education when loans weren't even necessary because it was so affordable and if they did need a loan interest was next to nothing! Those in office don't know what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck or to be unemployed or grossly under-employed. They have never had to deal with what graduates today are faced with. They don't understand and they have no interest in trying to understand because it doesn't affect them. Our politicians have proven themselves to be a bunch of name calling, self centered 5 year olds. Congress looks and sounds like a large kindergarten class lately. I have lost all respect for our "elected officials", they are not "for the people", they are for themselves ...period!

Frank the Underemployed Professional said...

I'm adding the term, "indentured educated class" to my lexicon. Thank you for introducing it to me.

Paul Small said...

Wow. In regard to the person who finds the goals of this organization anti-government and creating despair; you really need to wake up. First of all, it is a most democratic thing to speak up for change you believe in! And in terms of despair- please!! The greed, corruption, deception, predatory lending and poor planning that have led to the student loan crisis and systemic failure in American education is what is creating the despair- not the people who seek to address it. I for one am quite relieved to see people organizing about this situation, when the generation most affected by this scandal is often seen as apathetic and lazy in terms of political involvement. I felt despair previously when I felt I was mainly alone with my feelings on this, but now see I have plenty of company. I realize facing reality is painful sometimes- but don't shoot the messenger!!

Cryn Johannsen said...

I agree, Paul, and I am glad that you know you're not alone - that's, in my mind, half the battle.

Anonymous said...

I think that the notion that debts should be forgiven due to the exorbitant price of higher education insulting. I did not have every opportunity to get degrees in a field I may have enjoyed more. I was well aware that I had to do work in a field of study which would prove marketable upon graduation. You took out loans and now you want them forgiven because you are heavily in debt. That's insulting. The primary reason it's insulting is that it will affect many who come after you. Why would any private lending make a loan if it felt that the government could at any time cancel its debt? Such a move by the government is not only lawful but extremely dangerous. That type of practice happens in third world countries. Guess what the interest rates are there as a result. Lending institutions much charge a far greater interest rates because the riskiness of the loan goes up exponentially. Further, why should taxpayers bail you out? You're the highly educated. Why should people working in factories and retail bail out people with Ivy League degrees? Maybe you should thought through the consequences before you took the loan out in the first place. All educational loans which originate through public funds are tightly regulated. You did not get fleeced and saying so is an insulted to true victims of predatory lending.

Mike said...

I took out loans and landed a job in Meteorology. This field at first has poor paying jobs but with experience it grows. I currently make 37K/yr. 50% of that goes right into loans. You might find it insulting to forgive student loans but I find it more insulting that I will have to make over 50-60k/yr just so I can do more than pay my loans, rent, utilities, $1 frozen pizza, etc. Also, not all students in massive student loan debt went to an ivy league school. There are several state schools that can put you in debt just as easily. Also, working in a factory/retail now might not be first choice. Changing how student loans work would help get them out of the factories unless they truly want to be there.

John Evans said...

Thanks Cryn,

Is this reform music to the ears of anyone dreaming of higher education and a way to afford it?

Does anyone remember those naive days of thinking you would graduate and pay your student loan with your well paying job as a graduate?

I applaud the effort to continue fighting until everyone whomever sought higher education for the betterment of mankind, attended a university, received an education, and earned a living, can look in the mirror and feel content with the price they paid for their education.

No matter if that was those 10 years ago or the years to come.

All the best,

Matthew Wright said...

I am disheartened by far to find that the people that we put in office do not seem to think that we matter. The truth is that, for myself personally, I would rather default on my student loans and be able to feed myself than continue to prop up usurious institutions that continue to feed their stockholders' appetites at the expense of the poorest peoples' stomachs.

Anonymous said...

Greed prevails in student loans very similiar to the various banking fraud schemes. Loans are sold to 'privatized' collectors, doubled with bogus fees, collection costs and penalties, kept a few years, then sold to another collector. Meanwhile, each succesive shark has "doubled" their profits on paper. They will need more than luck to get over a half million out of this 65 year old.

I should not feel bad because they will garnish my SS check 25%, they do exactly the same to the disability checks of the disabled. Oh, did I mention the 24.99% interest?

There is an undeniable level of disgust and contempt for a government that would remove -all- consumer rights from student loans and then loan up a storm of paper profits to the poor and unsuspecting.

Leni Weisl said...

I find it really interesting that *Anonymous* takes the cowards way out and not only sits at a computer typing out these sarcastic rants, but takes the cowards way out and won't even sign their name. Anybody can do that. At least Cryn has the balls to speak her mind and try to make a difference. And if you want to talk to me-use your real name and quit picking on everyone on here.