April 15, 2006

The Raid on Student Aid

From TomPaine.com

In February, Republicans voted through nearly $12 billion in cuts to student assistance programs. President Bush’s most recent budget, for the sixth straight year, leaves the maximum Pell Grant—the nation’s primary grant assistance program—well below the $5,100 he promised while campaigning for a second term.

These broken promises and cuts come at a time when the typical student borrower graduates with $17,500 in loan debt and interest rates on college loans are being hiked this July. Tuition at four year public colleges rose 40 percent since 2001, and 200,000 students are unable to attend college at all this year because of the costs.


When backed into a corner on their failures, Republicans like to try verbal judo and counter, “Democrats don’t have a plan, all they do is attack.” Well, Republicans should be condemned for placing the American dream further out of reach for young Americans; they should be called enemies of the middle class for making the loans parents take out for their children’s education more expensive. But Democrats also have a plan.

Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., have introduced the Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act of 2006 , which would cut interest rates on college loans in half. The typical student borrower would save $5,600 over the duration of their loan. As with national security, Democrats have stepped up with an alternative and progressives must now do our part to get that message out.

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