A university is a place where ancient tradition thrives alongside the most revolutionary ideas. Perhaps as no other institution, a university is simultaneously committed to the day before yesterday and the day after tomorrow.
We’re trying out a new format here, since we haven’t reviewed a book in a while, I’m trying out: Bill Reviews. We’ll see how this goes, if its a total garbage fire please tell me.
Speaking of garbage fires, have I got a doozy for you: HR 4508, the “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act” or the PROSPER Act. It’s quite the mouthful but let me tell you, it doesn’t have anything to do with Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity, unless you’re in private finance.
- Protect free speech and religion on college campuses: As if they needed protecting. All these provisions do is score cheap political points for Republicans with their base while furthering the narrative that somehow free speech and Christianity are under some dire attack from the america-hating commie factories that are our nation’s colleges and universities. Complete and senseless garbage.
- Eliminate student loan forgiveness for some public sector employees: In a move to save $4 Billion a year, the bill would eliminate student loan forgiveness for some borrowers, who are eligible for forgiveness if they enter public service or work for a non-profit, and make ten years of payments. We need to encourage our best and brightest to serve the country, not just the ones who can already afford low government salaries. Not only does this make it harder for the government to fill low paying but necessary positions with qualified candidates, it forces many to forgo higher education even if they meet the academic standards for admission, and further, deters people from studying fields of public, rather than private, interest. Unfortunate at best, detrimental at worst.
- Eliminate subsidized loans, increase limits on unsubsidized loans: The bill would also eliminate the subsidized loans that the federal government provides. The subsidized loans are provided to students of financial need, and the federal government pays the interest on them while the student is enrolled in college. Eliminating this would “save” the country $18.5 Billion, by pushing the costs back to the students. Further, it would only encourage higher levels of financing of education. Bad, very bad stuff.
- Eliminate student loan origination fees: Student borrowers pay over 1% of the loan value in fees. This bill would eliminate that. Good riddance.
- Provide increase Pell Grants payouts: The bill would increase the maximum payout by $300 for full time students receiving Pell Grants. Currently the maximum Pell Grant disbursement is just under six thousand dollars per year, which is comical when compared to the total cost of a college education. This is a step in the right direction.
Overall, this isn’t the worst bill ever written. But it’s a pretty sucky bill. There was once a Speaker of the House who said that it was the role of the Majority to govern and the role of the minority to sit and observe, and that is exactly what is happening here, a purely partisan bill. U.S. Citizens currently hold over $1.2 TRILLION in student loans, and one in four student borrowers are in delinquency or default. Ratcheting up the cost of financing an education through eliminating subsidized loans and loan forgiveness programs is only going to ratchet that total debt up. Eliminating subsidized loans also lessens competitive pressure on the private lending market, allowing banks to get away with charging higher interest rates due to lack of competition. And, raising the amount a student can take in federal loans may even hurt more than it helps, as some believe that increasing the ability of students to borrow for college only drives the costs of education up.
At the end of the day, this bill will most hurt those who most need access to higher education to improve their prospects, and will most help the richest stakeholders of private lending and education industry.
John’s Rating: 2 dumpster fires out of 5
Winston’s Rating: 1 dumpster fire out of 5