Things are looking up for students, regardless of their political affiliations. At a time when the costs of tuition, parking, books and school are rising, the prospect of lower interest rates on school loans is something to anticipate. It’s exciting to hear that part of the current House of Representatives’ agenda is to cut the interest rates of student loans in half. That’s right, in half.
After hearing this, I couldn’t believe there was more. But the newly Democratic Senate is not only supporting lowering interest rates on student loans, but also proposing a raise of the maximum yearly allowable amounts of Pell Grants by $1,050 per student.
Since students don’t have to pay grants back, that would be a big help, especially for middle-class students. Let’s face it: Students at Northern Kentuc
-ky University and other such universities are usually from middle-class families. Even when these families have two incomes, they typically count on federal aid too.
Often times though, students cannot get enough grants, forcing families to take out federally-funded student loans with ever-increasing interest rates. Because the average student will accumulate
around $20,000 in debt by graduation school, the Democrats’ proposal would be a silver lining to the black cloud of debt that looms overhead.
This cloud also hangs over the ever-growing population of non-traditional students, who work 40 or more hours per week, squeezing in classes on their lunch hours or after work. Many also have to come home and help their children with homework before they start on their own. One day, these students would like to live the American dream, to be able to use their education to afford a comfortable life for themselves and their families, not just spend their paychecks paying back student loans.
As a middle-class Republican, I’ve been wondering why these proposals weren’t made during the last several years, when the Republicans controlled the House and Senate. Where have the Republicans been when we needed them? Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you have to admit that now that the Democrats are the majority in D.C., things are looking up for students. At a time when the middle class is said to be diminishing, the Democrats are doing their part to keep that from happening.