You are hereElection outcome may greatly affect student loans
Election outcome may greatly affect student loans
Patrick Harrington is an average college student. The 21-year-old electrical engineering major studies, goes to class and struggles with student loan debt.
“I had to get student loans because I didn’t get quite enough scholarships to cover everything,” Harrington said.
The average college student graduates with 24,000 dollars of student loan debt, an amount that for the first time ever is greater than the national average for credit card debt, according to the New York Times.
A third of the University of Colorado at Boulder’s students, Harrington included, use financial aid to pay for their tuition.
This summer, Congress agreed on a one-year extension to keep Stafford loan rates low largely in response to Obama’s tour on college campuses in April.
Associate Director of CU’s Office of Financial Aid, Ofelia Morales said it is likely Obama will work toward keeping the rates down if he is reelected. The American Opportunity Tax Credit is one item President Obama wants to make permanent.
Governor Mitt Romney has a different plan of action if he is elected President. According to his campaign website, he plan is to privatize student loans so not every student loan is granted through the Department of Education.
While this plan could help cut costs, Morales said privatizing could make the loan process more difficult for students.
“From our perspective at this financial aid office, we really like the idea of the process being easy and very transparent to students and not having multiple people to work with,” said Morales.
Romney also encourages the growth of for-profit universities, according to his campaign website.
The two candidates’ plans differ largely. However, student voter registration is down by eleven percent compared to the 2008 election, according to the Star Tribune.
CU professors, like Mike McDevitt, said they believe students need to start becoming responsible and take an interest in politics.
“I see student apathy all the time and yet now there’s complaints from the same students about their student loans,” McDevitt said, “It really, really is in their best interest of students to pay attention.”
McDevitt feels his generation was more politically involved, especially with political movements like Vietnam.
“So maybe student loans will be that issue that really gets college students galvanized,” said McDevitt.
Students will have to keep their eyes on the issue as Romney and Obama finalize their plans regarding student loans.