Wednesday, November 20, 2019

In a Year of Action, Obama Continues his Fight For Students

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In the last three decades, the average tuition at a public four-year university has more than tripled, while the income of a typical family remains stagnant.

This week, President Obama announced a series of executive orders to ease the burden of student loan debt, which includes a presidential memorandum that will allow 5 million borrowers with federal loans to have a limit on their monthly student loan payments. The executive order will also allow borrowers to pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income.

In the last three decades, the average tuition at a public four-year university has more than tripled, while the income of a typical family remains stagnant.

Today more than ever, students depend on student loans to pay for their tuition. Nowadays, 71 percent of those students that graduate with a degree have an average debt of $29,400.  Although the majority of students are able to repay their loans, many feel the financial burden of their debt, especially when they start a family, buy a house, start their own business or save for retirement.

The truth is that a post-secondary education is the most important investment that Americans can make for their future and it is especially important for Latinos, who experience economic inequality more than other segments of the population. A college degree means higher incomes, lower risk of unemployment and economic strength for our country.

In addition to signing a series of executive orders, the President also urged the Secretaries of the Department of Education and Treasury to work together to develop ways to help students manage their loans in an easier way.

More specifically, the Departments will take the following steps:

–          Reinforce incentives for lenders and thus ensure that students are being taken care of.

–          Ensure that active duty military receive the relief they deserve.

–          Work with the private sector to promote awareness of different repayment options for student debt.

–          Use innovative communications strategies to help the most vulnerable borrowers.

–          Promote stronger collaboration to improve information for students and families.

The reality is that the President is doing everything possible to help millions of students who depend on these loans. However, it is important to note that Congress also has several ways to alleviate these student loans.

That is why the President also expressed the need for the Senate to pass a bill that would help about 25 million Americans refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate, saving a typical student, many of them who are Latinos, $2,000 over the duration of their loan.

However, with such an important legislative proposal, Republicans continue to find ways to interfere. That’s a first!

It is time for Senate Republicans to make the interests of millions of students a priority, instead of worrying so much about the interests of their wealthy constituents who do not need financial aid.

Washington Hispanic