Letter - Greed exploits students, familiesThe article “Grants save college careers” [November 4 Echo Press] was very misleading. I hope this was not purposeful. It started well, with a personal story about an Alexandria student who received a government grant. Well and good!
To the editor:
The article “Grants save college careers” [November 4 Echo Press] was very misleading. I hope this was not purposeful. It started well, with a personal story about an Alexandria student who received a government grant. Well and good! Then, in the middle of a paragraph, the author switched from grants to student loans by private banks, mixing emotional appeal with profiteering motives. The two (three, including government loans) are separate entities and need to be evaluated as such.
Pell Grants have opened doors for many individuals. Direct Student Loans were low-interest loans that became due six months after leaving school. Private lenders saw an opportunity, so they lobbied Congress to allow private loans to be insured by the federal government. Once again, privatization equaled profits; but, with no risks and no losses. Parents had to choose more expensive options because funds for government grants and loans were drastically reduced. For example, in PLUS loans, the parents pay a service fee up to 4 percent, deducted before the student receives the disbursement.
Furthermore, as privatization continued, the banks raised the amounts they would be willing to loan, since they had no risks. Students would be advised by their school counselors to borrow as little as possible. But, once they were college students, no one was advising them against “overborrowing.” When these students graduated from college, they faced an impossible financial situation for a beginning worker.
If we believe that youth are our future, we should not allow greed to exploit them and their families. If we can bail out banks and corporations, surely we can afford to educate our youth.