Although the student debt issue has been overshadowed this election cycle by many other issues, it remains a very important issue for college students wondering how they will pay off student loans. Student debt in this country has now exceeded $1 trillion; that's more than the nation’s credit card debt.
Being a volunteer on the campaign trail for much of this year, I have heard several college students ask questions along the lines of, “Who is going to help me pay off my student loans?”
This is the first point that needs to be addressed when discussing this issue. Why are we looking at our presidential candidates and asking who can help pay off these loans? Since when did it become someone else’s responsibility?
I would never want to deny anyone in this country the opportunity of higher education, but we cannot expect the government, or anybody else for that matter, to pay off our own loans. That completely misses the point of a “loan.”
I, myself, have taken out loans for college, and will probably take out more if, and when, I am in graduate school. However, I have never on any occasion asked, “Which candidate can help me pay off my loans?”
You see, my hope is that I can have a job after I’m finally done with schooling. This is one of the top reasons why I am supporting Governor Romney for president.
With that job, I can pay off any loans I have taken out without asking for help from the government and American taxpayers.
Under President Obama, the youth unemployment rate has risen dramatically. Today, the unemployment rate for those under 30 sits at 11.8 percent, much higher than the overall national unemployment rate.
When asked about student debt, Romney is quick to point out these facts, and says he will help create an economic environment where college graduates will be able to find a job. Being able to find a job upon graduation will help students pay off their loans and prevent them from going deeper into debt.
Another idea Romney has put forth is reintroducing private lenders into the federal student loan market. The federal government has been handing out loans with little to no competition, resulting in high interest rates and many defaulted loans, and costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
The Romney campaign argues reintroducing private competition would spur innovation and help prevent college students from borrowing more than they should.
So although I was, at first, irritated by the question of “Who is going to help me pay off my student loans?” I now realize this is the mindset people are living with under Obama’s presidency.
The government hands you a loan that, due to a lack of private lender competition, might not be the best loan for you and you might not be able to pay it back. Then, when you graduate and can’t find a job, it only makes sense the government and the taxpayers take on that burden instead of you, right?
When only half of college graduates have jobs, an entitlement mindset is built to fill in the gaps. Under a Romney presidency, more graduates will be able to find jobs.
Additionally, with private lenders, more loan options will be available so that students will be able to choose the loan that makes the most sense for them. At that point, the only person preventing you from paying off your loans is yourself.