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Friday, December 2, 2016

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is again calling on Congress to stop student loan rates from doubling on July 1. The senior senator from Massachusetts says that doing this comes down to two issues: money and values.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Thursday, she first covered the money, pointing out that the government actually profits off student loans:

Some have argued that we can’t afford to keep interest rates low. But let’s be clear: Right now the federal government is making a profit from our students. Just last month, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that the government will make $51 billion this year off student loans. Think about that. $51 billion. And that’s $16 billion higher than the earlier estimate. We have the money to cut interest rates—if we’re willing to reduce the profits we make from our students.

She then connected the loan issue to the bailouts of big banks to argue that we need to adjust our values to support students:

Have we become a people who will support our big banks with nearly free loans, while we crush our kids who are trying to get an education? The student loan program makes obscene profits on the backs of our students. This is morally wrong, and we must put a stop to it.

Our students don’t have high-paid lobbyists to look out for their interests, but they do have their voices. Petitions urging Congress to pass a short-term plan for interest rates to prevent them from doubling have already collected more than a million signatures. Our students and their families are asking for what is right. They are asking for something we can easily afford. Let’s show them that government can work for them.

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This chart from the Century Foundation makes it clear what’s largely behind the rise in cost of college, lower government funding being passed on to students:

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