Anya Kamenetz is a writer whose work I've been reading a lot of recently, and she definitely deserves our attention. Kamenetz, at just 26, has made herself a spokesperson for the new generation of college students and graduates, most of whom come out of college with the heavy burdens of student loan debt, credit card debt, low-paying jobs, high rent, poor (or no) health insurance benefits, and are struggling to survive.
This is becoming an increasingly important issue in light of the recent scandals dealing with student loan providers, and the bills that Congress has been considering to limit the rights of loan providers and make college more affordable for students.
The College Cost Reduction Act of 2007 (HR 2669) has just been pass in the House, and the Higher Education Access Act of 2007 (S 1762) has just been passed in the Senate. Both of these bills, once combined through conference committee and sent to President Bush for signing, will crack down on subsidies to private loan companies and give debt-laden students a crucial break that they need in order to secure stable jobs, pay off their debts, and put their costly 4-year degrees to use.
So what does our president do? Promise to veto it, of course.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said the House bill "is a big victory for students and families across America who face rising college costs. The time to put the needs of students ahead of the profits of the banks is long overdue. I look forward to passage of similar legislation in the Senate this month." [The Senate did pass similar legislation days after he made that statement].
President Bush, however, has already threatened to veto any college cost legislation that comes his way. A White House statement said: "This costly proposal only benefits students once they leave school, when they can already take advantage of flexible repayment options available under current law and reduce the effective interest rate they pay through the existing tax deduction for student loan interest."
Considering that today's college students are the future of this nation, Bush needs to pay more attention to legislation that affects them. People under 30 - Gen Y - are saddled with debt, are facing the threat of social security running out by the time they retire, and will face tax increases in order to finance Iraq war, yet Bush wants to veto legislation that would financially help the people that are the future of this nation. Everyone deserves a good education in today's competitive society, and America's young people need the financial break this legislation will provide. Let's hope our president comes to his senses and reconsiders this legislation.