Student Loans: #DontDoubleMyRates

President Obama is pushing to extend the lowered interest rates on federal student loans and Mitt Romney supports the extension as well. So it’s a win-win situation, right? Not quite. First, let’s delve into the nature of these loan rate extensions.

In 2007 Congress enacted lowered interest rates for student loans due to student’s inability to pay loans back successfully thanks to what I deem “a rotten and stupid economy that better not get in my way when I graduate.” If Congress fails to act and extend the lower rates, the rates will double this summer from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. How’s that for continuing stress for us students? That’s more than $1,000 in addition to the cost of the average student loan! That’s the equivalent to one to two months of rent or perhaps three or four months if you share a bedroom with an astronomic amount of other impoverished students.

Republicans typically do not want to extend the low rates because of the burden it will place on tax payers, which is about $6 billion a year. However, Romney has stepped out of his party boundaries by averting a debate on the issue and backing Obama on the extension.

So the question becomes whether will congressional Republicans will follow Romney’s lead? Not likely. And is Romney supporting this extension for the right reasons? Absolutely not. Romney has repeatedly in the past denounced subsidizing tuition costs, but now he’s suddenly a firm believer and advocate in helping us scholars.

I think Romney is what many have branded as the grand and spectacular human Etch-a-Sketch. He is flip-flopping on issues and it‘s easy to see why. Romney is severely missing out on the votes that count. He’s lacking in youth votes and Latino votes. What is comical is that Romney, who was in the past tough as nails on issues of immigration, has been, as of recently, prancing around with a new handbag, Marco Rubio. Senator Marco Rubio is rumored to possibly be Romney’s pick for a running mate. It just happens, that coincidentally, Rubio is of Latino descent. How convenient.

Anyways, my point is that Romney would do or say anything to win this upcoming presidential election. He would flip-flop, he would skip, jump or hop just to get the votes. He’s not consistent and is not out to genuinely foster struggling students of higher education whereas Obama is making the effort to make life perhaps a little more bearable for students. He’s attempting to expand access to higher education by having more Pell Grants made available and by capping loan payments to only 10 percent of ex-student’s salaries. I’m not saying Obama is an angel destined to purify the path for down-on-their-luck students, but he seems a whole heck of a lot more apt on easing the load.

I‘m just afraid that this nation won‘t have the brightest future if people are deterred from pursuing higher education due to outrageously absurd prices and ridiculously hefty loads that are placed on the shoulders of those who want to better themselves and their communities. I believe Romney is supporting the students now so that he can get just a few more votes, and then he‘ll simply shake himself up and lose interest in the youth if elected. I don’t know, I just didn’t care for the Etch-a-Sketch when I was little, so why would I now want one leading this nation and shaking things up in some indecisive and unruly manner?

 

Stephanie Weldy is a third-year literary journalism major. She can be reached at weldys@uci.edu.