“Borrow money if you have to, from your parents,” the ever innovative Governor Romney suggests. But if this isn't an option for you, chances are you’ll have to pick up a student loan, and you wouldn’t be the only one; 9.4 million students took advantage of the Pell Grant last year.
The Federal Pell Grant is a program aiding lower-income students in financing a college education. The grants don’t have to be repaid and they serve as a foundation for students’ tuition. If college students are forced to watch political ads beforeYouTube videos, we should at least pay attention to an issue that matters to us: affordable education.
Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan has suggested a budget that would severely diminish the Pell Grant, lowering the eligible income level and freezing the maximum amount at $5,500 (While Obama insisted on a 1.5 percent increase) despite rising tuition costs. While Romney stated on a Spanish-language TV station last month he disagrees with his running mate on his suggested amendments to the Pell Grant, that he would have the grants fluctuate with inflation, the good governor is infamous for being fickle with his stance on social issues and being vague on his plans for progress.
With a capricious economy and a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, education is a fundamental part of our nation. With cruel and competitive job markets you’re almost lost in a sea of applications without a notable degree. If we take away the means for lower-income students to pay for education, we take away eligible applicants for jobs and we will certainly add to the number of unemployed.
An intriguing aspect of Obama's federal student loan plan is the "pay as you earn" idea, which would allow monthly federal student loan repayment as 10 percent of monthly disposable income. While this concept is a seeminly decent plan, it is in amateur opinion that the pay rate should be higher. If the government is helping students obtain degrees, students should be willing to pay it back in bulkier chunks.
This might not be accomodating for employees with lower-income jobs, but if the government is going to put more money into your education, then you should as well. As state coffers run dry, publically aided universities have no other choice than to raise tuition. The number of students using the Pell Program has risen by 52 percent since 2008 and more and more students are in need of aid each year. Of the 2011 college graduates, 66 percent are carrying student loan debt, with an average of $26,000 per graduate, according to a report released this month by the Institute for College Access and Success.
American students without the pull from their parents' purse strings deserve quality education just as much as kids from upper-class famillies do. By allotting more funds for the Pell Grant and putting the "pay as you go" approach into effect, students who don't have disposable income can hopefully get a degree, get a job, and help the economy.
Obama has education high on his list of priorities, for both he and the first lady were burdened with student debt after college. While Obama understands the value of education and the hardships of paying his own way, Romney was handed the money for two Harvard degrees on a silver platter. His views on financing for the modern student don't apply to everyone. When you're voting, remember to search for someone who can represent you; because he understands.