Here's a guest post from a certain lady toward whom I bear a certain fondness. She's concerned (and by "concerned," I mean infuriated
) by the strong possibility that Congress will soon allow the interest on student loans to double
All the words below the asterisks are hers.
* * *
From the Desk of Ms. Vandal:
It is not often I use Joseph’s blog to voice my own opinions and concerns, but today I am dealing with a problem facing so many students graduating college.
Before I went back to school, I worked as a Data Analyst for a subsidiary of the Boeing Commercial Air Group. As often is the case in the aerospace industry, one day I received a beautiful pink slip. Instead of weathering out the storm in an industry hostile to those without a degree, I decided to go to back to school and get that degree.
With the best of intentions, I started at a community college. I waded the tumultuous waters of placement exams and prerequisites, and built up credits to transfer to a university. I did well. I was graduated with honors. And while the degree came from a school you may not have heard of -- the University of California at Riverside -- it is a prestigious sister school to UCLA.
But when I left college, I faced a much tougher job market. Now I work at a children’s museum. It's a great job, but it pays only $7.50 an hour. I am not full time, nor do I have benefits. Although I have often applied for better-paying positions, the competition is horrifying. At this rate, I cannot afford to pay back my student loans -- hell, I can barely afford food.
And now they want to DOUBLE the interest rate of my loan?
I called the phone number on the Move On infographic posted to the right of these words. They connected me to my local congressional representative. I relayed my story to a staffer, and informed her that doubling the interest rate would put me even further behind on my payments. I wept. She grumpily replied: “I’ll pass the message on.”
I doubt that she will. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I called -- and I hope you will do so as well.
Now we have just one day to get the message out. We have to tell Congress not to double the interest rate on student loans.
Raising the rate is not a move that will help the economy. This lines the pockets of the banks who took on the loans. Those banks are the reason we are in our current financial debacle. Go after the banks! They received billions in bailout money because they were too big to fail. But who cares about me
if I fail?
Not the bank. Not the government.
Student loan debt is over a trillion dollars. How will doubling the interest rate help these people pay their student loans? This move will only increase defaults, forcing hardworking people to live with a stigma that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
This fight is not just about the student loan interest rate. This is also about raising the minimum wage. Paying working people better will give them a greater pool of money to bolster the local economy. They will be able to afford groceries, to attend movies, to go to museums, and to have the occasional dinner out. And they will also have a much easier time making their student loan payments.
The original version of this post accidentally said "Student loan default
is over a trillion dollars." The default rate is between 9 and 10 percent.