Home Featured The Dream Act … A Dream Deferred?

The Dream Act … A Dream Deferred?

The sad, unspoken reality of pursuing higher education.

In an effort to garner and retain the youth vote that won him the election in 2008 Barack Obama has made extending the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which lowered the interest rate on federal student loans from 6.8 % to 3.4 %, a priority. The law expires in July so this past week Obama has been making speeches at colleges and universities across the country in an effort to gain support for the act. There is opposition in the right wing in Congress because extending the act would cost about $6 billion.

I have yet to agree with the views by the candidates in most of the issues leading up the GOP presidential nominee race. I don’t agree with how women’s rights are debated, opposition to the Dream Act is a joke and Gingrich’s delusions of pouring tax dollars into a dying space program is just dense. The key point of the likely GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s platform is lowering the deficit and improving the economy. One way the government could stimulate the economy would be to lower interest rates for student loans. This in turn would help those with degrees who are struggling financially. The money saved would come back find its way back into the economy like a constant feed back loop. Or, if Mitt Romney really wanted to help the economy he could suggest we could stop giving tax breaks to the rich or stop spending $250 million/day on a senseless war.

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Keeping student loan interest rates low is very important. I have eleven years of education post high school under my belt with no student loans. I was fortunate to receive a full academic scholarship and have the federal government pay me to receive my graduate degree. In contrast, I have plenty of friends who received their MD, DDS or JD recently and they graduated with $250K+ of student loan debt. I have no idea what my life would be like if I had that much debt. I might cry. Forget paying the principal; imagine the interest on monthly payments of a loan of that amount.  Its almost as if we are penalized for educating ourselves and the more education we receive, the harsher the penalties.

Thankfully I don't have these woes.

Entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn once said “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” Based on the current trend of tuition rates doubling since 2000 (10 percent increase each year) I’m not too sure about the former part of that quote [1]. The average amount of debt for a bachelor’s degree is $24,000 but 16 percent of blacks holding a bachelor’s degree graduates owing more than $40,000 in loans [2]. This is particularly troubling to me because as I’ve said I don’t have any student loans but this may affect my life in more than one way.

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More than likely I will marry a woman who has an advanced degree and it is possible that she will have student loans. As I mentioned earlier its not uncommon for a student who possesses a MD/DDS/JD to graduate with more than $250K in loans. When we get married her debt becomes my debt. Considering we’ll have a mortgage, car payments and costs associated with children the less we’ll have to pay in student loans the better. Also, I would like to think that I will be a responsible parent and establish a college fund that my wife and I would put money into but by the time our children are old enough for college we may be praying for scholarships.

What is your opinion on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act? Do you think that the federal government should foot the bill to give relief to college graduates who are struggling to make ends meet?

[1]- Student Lending’s Failing Grade
[2]- Source The Philadelphia Inquirer



  1. Good Post Tunde. As someone who graduated with barely no loans from undergrad. and completing a master degree at a very prestigious (and expensive as h***) university, I am beginning to understand why this is a major issue. I do ask myself, "Was it actually worth getting my master's degree," but the way the system is set up, esp. in healthcare, obtaining a master degree is a requirement in order to advance your career. I guess it is one of those sacrifices one has to make in order to succeed, but at what cost? While I have no regrets because I did receive a GREAT education and I have met people from all over the world, something I didn't experience attending a HBCU, decreasing the interest rates on student loans should be top priority for any candidate seeking my vote.

    1. i was flirting with the idea of law school after my PhD for a while but i realized 1) i don't like formal schooling anymore and 2) unless someone gave me a full ride i wasn't coming out 200K for law school. just not my thing. my mentor told me in undergrad that if you're paying for school as a black man in america then you're attending the wrong school.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

  2. Yes the government should help flip the bill. As a recent graduate (January) I’m still playing the job search game and with June approaching my first real loan payments are going to hit the table. I’m confident I will find something soon but at one point I was really considering joining the navy and letting them help me with my loans. It takes most college grads anywhere from six months and some even a year to find work. Honestly at this rate college graduates are working two jobs (probably retail/nothing in their field) just to make their loan payments, forget eating.

    If I could add anything on to this bill (hopefully I didn’t repeat anything) it would be:

    1)Since it’s taking people a lot longer to find jobs right out of school, college grads should have a 1 year penalty free grace period instead of six months. During this year grace period no extra interest will be charge to their loan(s).
    2)If someone has to defer their loan payments due to financial issues (lost of job, pay cut, medical issues) their interest rate will only go up 2% and not double.
    3)All sallie mae private loan would have a flat interest rate of 3.0 percent. Nothing more nothing less.

    1. i like all your proposals. especially number 1. i took a year off between undergrad and grad school and it took me a minute to fin something in my field and when i did a bachelor's in biology just doesn't pay what it used to. i ended up taking a government job at HUD to make some type of money.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

    2. I agree with #1, 6 months more would be a big help and not too much to ask.

      As for #3 it should be ALL banks, not just Sallie Mae. Luckily I avoided Sallie Mae because of what I heard. But my friends and I used Citi Bank and Chase and they aren't angels either. Some loans reach 11%. horrible!
      My recent post Music Review: Big K.R.I.T

      1. Girl I have one with citi right now. Had no choice because this was during the time when sallie mae would'nt loan out anything. I think I might be able to fight the good fight with Sallie MAe but Citi bank …idk
        And yea all private loans period, because these banks are getting away with murder. ( When the Government bailed out the banks they should have included as part of the agreement that banks could'nt charge students a interest rate over 5%.

  3. I have a BA and like you Tunde I was fortunate enough to have not have to take out any student loans, or grants due to my family. Because my family was very good with money, finances, saving and investing, my education was paid for by them; including my catholic school education.
    I think the College Cost Reduction & Access Act is a great idea. The federal government should at the very least give more grants, and no or very low interest loans and have better deferment plans.
    Plus, in most other countries all education is Free. I agree with many of the Presidents policies and bills he is trying to pass. His goal is to distribute wealth more evenly, as well as ensure that poor and lower middle & middle class citizens who pay taxes like everyone else get the same opportunities to have access to that wealth. It's fair and it's only right.

    1. " His goal is to distribute wealth more evenly"

      of course this will be met with opposition at every turn. the rich want to keep getting richer at the expense of everyone else. i'm glad your family had the foresight to plan and save for your college education. if i didn't take the initiative to work hard in school and get a scholarship i would be in a lot of debt right now.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      1. Madscientist when I was in college I researched the various types of grants and scholarships available at that time. I put a pamphlet together and gave it out to everyone in the class. I can't even recall what class it was for, but I'm so glad I did it. A few people in the class told me they were really grateful for the information and it would definitely benefit them; not to mention the professor was impressed. I did it specifically to assist my classmates who I knew were not fortunate enough to be able to have their education paid for out of pocket like me. When other people would tell me about their loans and my college professors would tell us about their loans I would cringe. I'm thankful that I had a family that was really good with money and invested. Sadly all of the money came about through inheritance due to the deaths of my parents and grandparents. However, because my grandfather invested in stocks, bonds, CD's, 401K's, Roth IRA's, and money-markets.

        1. My grandparents set up "college funds" for all the grandkids in the form of savings bonds with great interest rates. They started them when we were children, before we were 10 yrs old.
          I would get a PHD if I knew I could obtain it and not incur any debt from it..

  4. For as long as I can remember based on what I learned in U.S. history classes, the GOP & Republicans have always tried to selfishly keep their wealth amongst themselves, which is understandable to a degree. They want to maintain the economic system that sustains their wealth and their lifestyles.
    The problem is many of us in the U.S. are horrible with spending and managing our money.
    The economic system we have in place and the laws we have now would work fine with people who were more educated about finance and money management.
    Until we can better educate people on money management the best solution is to find ways to cut down people's everyday cost of living because they simply cannot afford to pay it. Not to mention much of the U.S. population is comprised of poor, middle class and lower middle class people; as opposed to wealthy people (making six figures), millionaires and billionaires.
    To a degree we as a people are at fault because we too often live beyond our means and overspend on frivilous things. However in the meantime, the bills Obama is trying to get passed and his policies are necessary for the future of our economy right now.

    1. Oon’t you think giving people handouts will make them complacent though? If I didn’t have to feel the effects of screwing up and spending beyond my means, why change? I do agree that educating people about finances would be a great idea though…

      1. Abu you don't just "give" people anything. Yes you give, but in addition to the assistance you Educate, and put people in a position where in order to get anything they have to take full Responsibility for it.
        The problem is people are just given handouts with being educated and held accountable for anything. There are too many loopholes in some of the laws already in place, like welfare for ex.
        It's not setup properly to get people to get the education they need and go to work. Even if they work, they are still not educated beyond high-school and assisted well enough with finding a good paying job that would require more than a high-school education.
        The programs designed to assist people financially need to be designed and managed better.
        More work and maybe more money needs to be put into them. That would help a great deal.

    2. "Until we can better educate people on money management the best solution is to find ways to cut down people's everyday cost of living because they simply cannot afford to pay it."

      i want to open my own private STEM school and one of focuses will be money management. it amazes me that even in college intro level courses in finance and money management aren't required. but colleges will pimp out their students to credit card companies and allow them to advertise freely across campuses. its all a setup. why i didn't get my first credit card till after i graduated college.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      1. MadScientist me and you need to link up forreal. I've been saying for years at the high-school level like freshman year the schools need resume writing and job preparation programs as well as money management courses. To this day there are grown folks who can't write a decent resume and cover letter and can't write a check and manage their basic finances correctly.
        Every high-school at least, should have these types of programs that run until senior year.
        In college as a freshman it was required of every student to take a world of work class. This class helped us immensely to prepare to get a job. To this day I am so thankful for this class and would absolutely use it as a benchmark for a program I would create and implement myself.
        Surprisingly many colleges and universities do not have any type of program like this whatsoever.
        I attended Winston-Salem State University btw, home of the Rams….Go Rams…*smile*

  5. Yesterday, the Senate failed to get enough votes on the current proposed bill which sends them back to the drawing board. This really isn't solely the GOP's fault. They have a valid point. The GOP wants the $6 billion to fund this bill to come from Obama's robust healthcare plan, which Obama has said he will veto. The Democrats insist on raising taxes on Small Business Owners. Where you say this will stimulate the economy, it really won't if you are going to raise taxes on Small Business Owners. The current stalemate on Capitol Hill is no different than when the Democrats began to hold seats in the House under Bush. Obama is familiar with the term, "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." What's happening to him and his Congress is basically what they did to Bush 5-6 years ago. There is no middle ground for either of these sides and to both of them I say, "All y'alls asses is crazy."

    Overall, one thing that we all need to understand is where the other side is coming from. The GOP is not interested in spending any more money while this country plunges further and further into debt. The spending is reckless and doesn't show any signs of a stimulating economy. They're not completely innocent, when they controlled the White House, reckless spending was the order of business. However, the situation has never been as dire as it now. In my opinion, I can't see why at a fundamental level Obama's administration cannot understand that they have to stop spending money. That's what all of this is coming down to, trying to get spending curtailed and also getting a seat at the table for the GOP on spending. None of that's happening. There have been no compromises, negotiations or attempts at finding a middle ground. One side paints the other as being resistant to change and trying to hold up progress for the American people. The other side is painting the other as being reckless spenders and putting the country into a weak position. Where is the middle ground? Moreover, where are the conscious citizens of America who can see that neither side is completely right or wrong.

    The choice between either side is choosing between two evils. Neither of which can be proven to be lesser. As it pertains to affordable education, we need that. However, we also need to realize that education has become a business and many of us aren't willing to attend public institutions like we should. You need education to live. I will give this last analogy as I leave because it's a point I semi-agree with. If I purchase items that I need like food, shelter and clothing on credit with no real means to pay my debtors, is that a smart financial decision? Can you really excuse the actions of people who take on much more debt than they can feasibly afford in the out years? I don't know. I think as much as we think that you need to have affordable education, it's just like any other necessity in the United States. You can't buy what you cannot afford. I want good food for my children and that may lead me to shop at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. When I get my credit card statement, I can't complain that the prices are much more expensive than Aldi's. The process is fair although not desirable. Everyone who takes out a loan is fully aware of the rates. So in that case… that's my unsettling truth within. I wish the solution was easy, but it's not.

    1. I see what you are saying but even good public institutions aren’t cheap anymore. With so many college students in need of finaicial aid, unless you fall in a certain category (scholarship/full ride, single mother with 5 kids and no real income, or a warden of the state) you won’t get as much help. Plus a lot of fin aid package included those unsubsidized/subsidize loans as fin aid. So you have those loans to pay back plus the private ones the average student has to take out to pay for school on top of the high interest rate. It's not like it's just private school kids crying wolf, all college students across the board are suffering from these high interest rates. so if the gov can do something to help them out why not.

      1. I think you're speaking of the public institutions that are expensive. Let's use the state of Maryland for example; if you're trying to go to UM-College Park, then it's probably unaffordable. You should probably find a school in the system that's affordable if you can't afford it.

        1. Even the once affordable good public schools are becoming costly due to tuition increase, lack of alumni donations, lack of finicial aid and loans with high interest rates. Plus even if you find a random cheap school will it be worth the little money you do have, will it have the resources you need.

    2. I agree with your first two paragraphs but I'm not sure that final analogy is apples to apples. For one, as Tunde noted, access to food hasn't increase 10% each year or 200% since 2000. Also, there are a number of free programs provided by the government to ensure people get food (no need to debate how good/bad these programs are). So for the most part, you can choose to put food on credit or not. With college, since most people have to go to college in order to afford college; otherwise, they wouldn't need loans in the first place or as David Letterman said, "If you can afford college, you don't need college."

      I agree with what you're saying about taking on debt, but that's more applicable to personal debt acquired through credit cards and other miscelleneous purchases than taking on debt to pay for school. Plus, most people – right or wrong – believe they are taking on this debt in the present to acquire employment so they can pay off that debt in the future. This is no longer the case. Citing Tunde's stats again, the average student graduates with $24k in debt, with a percentage of blacks closer to $40k. Yet, I believe the Wall Street Journal reported – if you can get a job in 2012 with employment rates at 8% and almost 14% for blacks – you'll only make an average of $50k. With this equation alone, under the best of circumstances, you're looking at a rough payback of over 10 years assuming you can dedicate 10% of your take home pay – which most people won't. In fact, most student debt haunts people their entire lives. We should note, for example, Obama and Michelle paid off their student debt in 2010. Doesn't take the average person 10 years (or their life time) to pay off their groceries. As a side note, if worse came to worse, you can file for bankruptcy to discharge personal credit you can't afford. There is no such remedy for school loans.

      My recent post Mad Men: Lazy Lazarus

      1. Sorry, missed your house and clothing examples. Good points and I agree with those. However, most people dont purchase "food, shelter and clothing on credit" for the same reason they attend an institution of higher learning. In America, college is still the primary means of mobilizing into the middle class (or above). Granted, only approximately 25% of Americans have a Bachelor's degree or higher so clearly not everyone needs a degree to, at minimum, survive here. Surviving versus prospering is debatable, and there are few other routes to financial wealth other than blue collar work (which there is less and less of), private start ups, or the military. In my opinion, none of these are bad but that's a far limited choice than afforded for food, shelter and clothing of which there are any number of viable alternatives to choose from. Also, other than shelter, none of those assets appreciate (arguably, neither does shelter anymore lol) but at least you obtain an asset. With schooling, you acquire a large amount of debt but acquire no "asset" that you can sell for a profit later on. Basically, you've acquired debt and education to better sell yourself. In the grand scheme of things, it's a very strange dynamic and one that's fairly unique to the United States for a developed economy that schooling is viewed more and more as a business rather than a means to educate and uplift the populace.

        My recent post The Avengers: Review

      2. Just imagine if you didn't pay anything for cost of living for 4, 6, 8, or 12 years. Imagine how much debt that would be… The reason why we think it's different is because you pay for cost of living as short term debt, while education is long term debt. They would add up to a similar amount though.

    3. bipartisanship is a joke and will never happen. the simple answer could be to increase taxes for the upper class but we all know that will never happen. you're right. reckless spending was something that the bush administration did without resistance because we were still riding high off patriotism and 9/11. no one wanted to question the massive amounts of money poured into a war that had nothing to do with 9/11. we're still feeling the rippling affects of that now. the gop wants to blame this on obama but in reality he inherited this problem and its not something that can be fixed in a 4 year term or even an 8 year one.

      yes people who take out loans know the rates but as it was said up thread a lot of people don't have the financial savvy to know exactly what they're signing or how it may affect them 10-20 years later.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      1. Even if you have the savvy, if you want to go to school this is one of the steps you have to take. Honestly most know the risk but the reward looks so good. A college degree can up your income if used correctly, for some people college is a way to a better life, so they take out the loan.

      2. The only issue with taxing the rich is that they have the ability to pick up and leave in most cases. That’s just what is happening here in Cali. Many wealthy people are taking their business and $ to Texas. Not to mention about 300,000 families in CA account for over 50% of the $ we get in taxes. So now we have a shrinking middle class and growing lower class. Any jobs that are being created are just service ones catered to the rich. I’m not saying that the entire country will turn into CA (I certainly hope not), but higher taxes may cause that.

      3. Tunde,

        What you're failing to realize is that the Obama administration didn't inherit all their problems. They caused some too. It's not about just fixing what happened in the Bush administration. Until the Obama administration admits that it's made mistakes and also contributed to reckless spending we won't get anywhere. Fortunately for them, their supporters will never actually admit that. That's something Bush's administration has on this current one. At a certain point, even his strongest supporters were able to objectively say he was doing a bad job and making bad decisions.

        And asking people to have the financial savvy to know exactly what they're signing up for or how it affects them later and asking for assistance is kin to saying that after 5 years at a company, I can ask for a raise off GP. Most people aren't savvy enough to negotiate the right salary. It's still fair. Unfair would be if they hid costs or rates from you. Financial Aid departments are required by law to answer all your questions and conduct exit interviews. People know they just want assistance later. My point is, we're trying to give the price of education a pass and not thinking about how similar constructs are in other parts of society and there is no assistance there.

    4. Man Doc J me and you are <<<<<here>>>>>>>>> ….I cosign on all that.
      I've been saying that for a long time….that was the very problem with the housing crisis that people complained about, and were probably part of the problem. It makes no sense to purchase a house u don't know for sure u will be able to afford if you should lose your job or get demoted, even if u can afford it right now? People purchasing a home that is more than 36% or almost half of your gross income. And people who foolishly live paycheck to paycheck, regardless of their income level, forgetting about the unexpected things that can happen in life and should be planned for.
      I agree that part of the problem is the mentality and irresponsibility of people. However, when the government creates these programs they need to ensure that they are being used the right way and as they were intended to be used. They do more to make sure these programs are fine-tuned and that there are little to no loopholes.

      1. I also see both sides points of view, however, with the way the economy is set up in this country it will take money, to make money, to pay this debt down. I think Obama is trying to pull resources he can to get the country out of debt as best as he knows how, considering the degree of the problem. He is also trying to assist poor, middle class and lower middle class people with more opportuntities to get out of their personal debt and at the very least have a chance to attain wealth. As he said when he was campaigning, these issues with the countries debt have been ongoing for decades.
        So as long as it took to get into the mess we're in, it will take just as long, maybe longer to get out of it. Folks have to be patient, and we have to do our part to be part of the solution and not add to the problem; cause forreal "We the people" represent this country's debt. All of us contributed to it and we have a lot of serious changes to make to get out of it and it will take time.

    5. "The Democrats insist on raising taxes on Small Business Owners. Where you say this will stimulate the economy, it really won't if you are going to raise taxes on Small Business Owners."

      Ok, I think there needs to be a slight point of clarification here. To be more specific, Democrats want to close a tax loophole used by S-Corporations that currently allows owners to manipulate their portions of their salary as pass through income to avoid payroll taxes and the such (very smart, btw, lol). Even more specifically only S-Corps and Partnerships with 75% of their gross revenues coming from 3 or less shareholders is what this applies to and will theoretically save the $6 billion over a ten year period. So think like small attorney offices with 3 or less lawyers or small doctor's group, etc, etc.. The small businesses that employ like 50 or so people will NOT be affected based on my understanding.

      Hope this helps some for context.

      1. That's not really clarification to me, that's just a long drawn out explanation of what I just said. You could do the same thing for the other side. They want to take $6 billion out of a $1.2 trillion healthcare plan proposed by Obama. That's a minuscule amount for a program that we already know is a necessity but will not be used at it's full capacity. I'm just saying… we should all be able to agree that both sides are being ridiculous.

  6. I would be in favor of the Act only if some other program was cut, or funds were taken from somewhere else… Like foreign aid for example, getting out of Afghanistan and Iraq, and closing down some of our military bases. Taxes could also levied on the millions of Americans that don’t pay any taxes at all. If they were able to do that, then I would support it, but I don’t think the gov’t should spend money they don’t have… I don’t

    1. do you know how much money the US spends a day in iraq? 255 million. not in a year. a day. imagine how many grants and scholarships could be given out with that money. our country's priorities are severely misplaced.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      1. Countless lives and money is being thrown down the drain on a hopeless cause. Plus we have military bases that have been up since thr end of WWII… Wth do we need a base in Germany now?

        1. Bad point. Never equate someone's life to a hopeless cause.

          And the US is the most powerful nation in the world because of those random bases that we question everyday.

        2. Mad & Abu I agree that a lot of money is being spent on wars…..however, the purpose behind the money being spent and the U.S. making sure we stay the most powerful nation I think is to keep the country out of danger. The government paints this picture that if we slip just an inch when it comes to war and don't put all that we do into it that we stand to be possibly taken out by another country and lose our power. This is jmo though.

    2. This is flawed logic. I would agree with you if it was sunk money. But people keep view investments in education as something that doesn't generate any returns. Investments in education lead to innovations lead to a more advance workforce, and a host of other offshoots that in the long-term make the spending worth it. A lot of people promote austerity in spending when the real problem is just sunk money. The wars are sunk money. Some, but not all forms of foreign aid is sunk money. Defense spending is largely sunk money. Investing in education? Not at all. For the allegedly "most powerful country in the world", we fall remarkably short on education compared to other developed nations. The current financial obstacles to pursuing higher education on a reasonable dime only serves to hinder matters.
      My recent post inomallday: Chris Carter is dry snitching like a mug…..dude should've kept his mouth shut.

      1. Education money is an investment, but that needs to start at the ground level. I'm more worried about the primary and secondary education problems. It starts with the kids.

        And saying that defense spending is sunk money is somewhat ignorant. As civilians (especially American civilians) we sit in our sheltered lives ignoring the rest of the world. So when we spend money on the military please believe that's the source protecting this comfortable life we live. Remember that scene in "A Few Good Men"? Yea i would rather you just said thank you.

        1. I get what you’re saying when it comes to defense, but you know there are certain things that can be cut from it. Our time spent in Afghanistan is pointless if the aid we give just lines the pockets of Karzai, his cronies, and local warlords. Many of the people there don’t want us butting into their affairs. If they want to live in the Dark Ages then let them. If they want to keep squabbling with eachother then let them do it.

        2. I didn't say all defense spending is sunk money. However, a large part of it is. The money that's spent trying to keep our nation safe is undoubtedly invaluable – but that's only a small portion of the greater budget for defense. You're really going to call me ignorant because I think there's no point in having a military base in Stuttgart? Please inform me of the threats to American soil that are coming from Germany since 1993. We spend large chunks of money on threats that haven't existed since the fall of the Soviet Union, yet I'm sheltered calling out our government wasteful? C'mon dude. I'm by no means anti-miliary, but ever since 9/11 there's been this unofficial blank check that's been handed out where we've allowed this bloated spending in the name of security, yet most of the money isn't being used against those perceived threats at all.
          My recent post inomallday: Chris Carter is dry snitching like a mug…..dude should've kept his mouth shut.

      2. I fumbled with my words earlier. I DO think that education is an investment that gives us a lot in return and would benefit by encouraging people to get into STEM majors. I was just saying that it can begin my taking money away from other things (defense, foreign aid to places like NK, Pakistan, etc)… Just divert the money to something that will actually give us returns.

    3. I spoke about this in my comment. This is where you have to check out CNN and not just the rumor mill.

      The GOP wants to cut the money from the healthcare plan, and the Democrats wants to raise the money by raising taxes on small businesses.

      1. Doc J I thought the Dems wanted to equally raise taxes on All businesses, not just small business?
        If thats the case then that makes no sense to me. Why would they only want to raise taxes on small businesses??

        1. They just need to raise $6 billion for this program. They wanted to go after small businesses. The larger goal for their entire platform is to raise taxes on the rich. A plan that will never work in our lifetime.

  7. Every month like clock work I receive a bill from my pimp aka Sallie Mae that reminds that I owe her a large hunk of my income for the next 10years and my first-born. I think the part that hurts the most is the field that I received my degree in is not where I am currently working.

    At age 18 you still don't really appreciate the value of a dollar and you aren't thinking how are these loans going to affect you in the future. Higher education (IMO) has to be one of the biggest legal scams. I only say that because there is no form of monitoring the cost of some of these schools, private schools in particular. I ended up at a private university that cost $22,000 a year, higher if you opted to dorm.

      1. Love that song. Every time I hear the name Sallie Mae, I think about J Cole. I hope he finally did pay Sallie Mae lol

      2. Sooo I listened to that portion of the song #dead….that is my life summed up in 40seconds

        I despise Sallie Mae I swear lolol

    1. lol @ Pimp Sallie Mae…thank goodness I only had a less $3500.00 loan from Miss Sallie from Esthetics school and I was able to pay that off in a few months. I paid some of it while in school, so glad I sacrificed and did that.

  8. I'll begin by saying I'm not as familiar with the details of this act other than the overview you've provided regarding interest rates. Like with any act that goes through Congress though; I'm sure there's all kinds of addendums and add-ons that have nothing to do with the act itself. I seem to recall reading that the GOP was against some related funding that would help Native Americans or something like that. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the business of Congress.

    Like yourself, the majority of my schooling was paid for – almost 95%. My parents invested in what used to be called the 'Texas Tomorrow Fund.' Upon completion, I could have attended any public Texas university for free. At the time, Texas also guaranteed entry to public schools if you graduated in the top 10% of your class. I was in the top 11% but still got in to my first choice. Anyway, I'm not sure if either of these programs still exist. I'm pretty sure the TX Tomorrow Fund went bankrupt because it couldn't keep up with the exponential rises in tuition each year. Texas is also a unique state because it's usually pretty awash in oil money, so despite all the external criticisms, they usually have money.

    Although I took it for granted at the time, my parents paying for my college education was the greatest gift I've ever received (I plan to do the same for my children, should I have any, but I'll need to better explain to them why I'm doing it and what it entails). However, I still managed to acquire thousands in personal debt in it's place so I still had the same burden as many of my friends. Ironically, when I told a number of my friends I wanted to be debt free by 30 (originally 28), a number of them asked "why?" Also, when I told some friends I had $30k in debt, some asked "is that all?" This lead me to conclude that this country, as a whole, is rather cavalier about debt and it's accepted as a natural part of life. This is strange because 'bad debt' is what prevents people from accumulating wealth, so it's any wonder that generation after generation repeats the cycle of debt and as a result, cannot rise above and sometimes fall below the financial achievements of their parents. This is not the fate of many already well-off or wealthy families, but that's a different discussion. With the help of my parents, this is a cycle I hope to break – and if I can, help others break.

    My recent post Mad Men: Lazy Lazarus

    1. yeah i think overall i have like $6K in total debt. i plan on paying all of that off by this time next year. eff what you heard. i hear you on that unsecured "bad" debt. i designed a budget/savings plan that i'm going to try diligently to stick to. as i said yesterday on twitter "a dollar saved is a dollar earned".

      i plan on paying for my children's education as well but hopefully they will get scholarships and that money can be used for me and my wife's retirement. lol
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

    2. "This lead me to conclude that this country, as a whole, is rather cavalier about debt and it's accepted as a natural part of life." Yes, having debt has become completely normalized. I think even terminology like "good debt" and "bad debt" plays into that.
      My recent post On My Radar: Deluge

    3. Wis that Texas Tomm Fund sounds like a good idea….every state should have had that.
      I think one of the easiest and immediate solutions is to educate high-school students and parents/guardians about the various grants and scholarships available to them. I don't think we as a society put much effort into letting people know what is available to them and assisting them with the how to use them. There are tons of grants and scholarships "supposedly" available in every state, but not enough people know about them.
      Now once scores of people know about and use this grant and scholarship money then we will need to find a way to maintain grants and scholarships.
      I'm not exactly sure how other countries are able to send children and young adults to school and college for free, but the U.S. needs to at the very least work harder towards cutting the cost of education as much as possible so it is much more affordable.

    4. Wis I'm wit you on that comment about debt. I have no actual "debt," only my everyday bills I incur from living. I'm thankful my family also taught me how to live below my means, and still live a "good life."

  9. The fact that the GOP can't see that student debt is the next mortgage crisis is beyond me. They do not have to look far, a cross the pond, their counterparts are feeling the effects of austerity.____"More than likely I will marry a woman who has an advanced degree and it is possible that she will have student loans" – this is real

  10. This might sound Republicanish, but after having paid off sudent loans and vowing never to get more, I really don’t think the feds need to foot that bill. In full disclosure, I did get another student loan, but the degree I am pursuing is in something that has positive job growth projections.

    Perhaps a hybrid program can be enacted where the students who are working towards degrees that have positive growth projections could get some of their debt forgiven, as long as there is no switching of majors. The STEM degrees would be be eligible for the forgiveness because frankly, the country could use more individuals with these degrees. Those who choose to pursue degrees in liberal arts will be out of luck.

    1. Good points.

      But this brings up another point for me. I actually find it interesting that these discussions revolve around the students and not why is education so expensive in the first place. I think, though I could be wrong, the US has the highest access to higher education in the developed world – and I'm talking about public institutions, not private. It seems strange to me, even as a former student, that we blame students for acquiring debt to attend these expensive institutions many have no choice, but to attend if they want to be gainfully employed. It seems victim blaming in nature.

      Basically the American script for 2012 and forward is: "If you want a job, go to school but don't ask us to pay for it and don't complain to us that you had to pay for it. Upon graduation, if we finally choose to offer you a job, don't dare ask us to pay you a livable wage that will allow you to pay off the very education we forced you to get in order to work for us." — It doesn't make a lot of sense.

      My recent post Mad Men: Lazy Lazarus

      1. "It seems strange to me, even as a former student, that we blame students for acquiring debt to attend these expensive institutions many have no choice, but to attend if they want to be gainfully employed. It seems victim blaming in nature. " <— THIS!
        My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      2. " I actually find it interesting that these discussions revolve around the students and not why is education so expensive in the first place"

        This times one hunnid thousand trillion! Listen, college tuition costs have rose over 400% and average wage for college graduates have risen like 27% over a set period of time that escapes me now. To WIM's point, why is the cost of education rising at an exponentially faster clip then the cost of living, wages, food, etc? University professors salaries aren't up 400%…additions to the school doesn't constitute 400%….what the hell are they doing with all this extra cash and why are they able to do this? Very simple answer: Because.They.Can. Period. smh

      3. Wis cosign on all the above comments…especially that American script.
        And I think your right, from what all my "foreign friends" tell me America does the have highest access to higher education.
        But this country is run like a business corporation. This is why education and everything else is so expensive; people making lots of money from it.

        The other thing I thought about was how your alma mater always comes at you to donate. And if they know your successful and making good money they will specifically ask you and expect you to donate large amounts of money. They have to know your probably stuggling to pay your student loans back. They're asking you for donations and you haven't even paid back the loan company that paid your tuition.
        I have donated "a couple dollars" to my college alma mater, but not my high-school.

    2. It’s not Republicanish, it’s smart…ish. And the hybrid program is a good idea! there should be more incentive for US citizens to get into those programs because the bad majority of college students that get there degrees in STEM usually go back to their home country and don’t benefit us.

    3. there are a couple of loan repayment systems in place now, unfortunately there are kinda useless. One is that if you go into public service, and pay your fed loans for 10 years while in that job, the fed will forgive the rest. But most people have private loans. The little fed loans I have can be paid off in three years. I did the calculations and their "deal" would save me about $200..which means its not worth it.

      And I agree with WIM..why should I have to been the one to change when I am not a greedy upperclass politician/banker/Uni President who got us into this mess. Point the finger at them for a change! If the government stopped backing these private loans the cost of education would go down. But schools know that students can get the money, so they line their pockets with secure money.
      My recent post Music Review: Big K.R.I.T

    4. My degrees are in STEM fields but I don't like the idea that an area of study is more valuable than another. The nation may be lacking healthcare practitioners, researchers, engineers, etc. but that problem needs to be solved with this weak K-12 education system. Not just by offering money to those willing to study STEM in college.

      Every field needs to be valued, we need social workers even if the field doesn't have positive growth projections. The same goes for the writers, teachers, visual artists, etc.
      My recent post Creativity Crush: Bradford Young

      1. Nina not to mention the health care field….that will always be in high demand. Every occupation serves an important purpose, is valuable ,and contributes to the growth and betterment of this country.

      2. i agree with this 100% and i'm also in the STEM field. this is why i want to switch my career path to education and open my own K-12 school. it would be private so i won't have to deal with the politicization of education.
        My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

  11. This is a particularly sore point for me, especially when you look at other countries and see that their public university is free.
    Family obligations pushed me to chose entering the work force over continuing to burden my family with college debt, and as time passed, I found my work/life experience was more beneficial than my peers' degrees when it came time to interview. However, I will probably go & get some kind of degree JUST so I don't have to play the "show me game" anymore when I meet people (if you are not familiar, the "show me game" is what happens when you meet a person, the degree convo comes up, you mention you don't have one, and you spend the rest of the evening playing a mental ping pong game with some suddenly haughty individual who insists that you "show them" how smart you are in order to continue to be worthy of their presence).
    My advice to every kid I mentor now is it's not where you go, it's where you graduate. Private University has shifted from learning institutions to pure profit machines, and it sucks that we can't just boycott them altogether.

    1. I also would suggest you tell them to research the major and attend a school that has a good reputation for that particular degree. I will say that I attended an expensive graduate school, but it was accredited, the alumni connection was great, and it was a top-tier program….Those factors also play a significant role when looking for work…..Sometimes just the school you attend, if the program you graduated from has a good reputation, will speak for itself.

      1. "I will say that I attended an expensive graduate school, but it was accredited, the alumni connection was great, and it was a top-tier program….Those factors also play a significant role when looking for work….."<—- This is why so many college students are in debt. Myself included.

        If I was going to get in debt I wanted it to be worth it. Private or public I looked at alumni relations, location, programs and name. Even with all those; plus great internships it can still take some time to get your foot in the door. I've been doig networking and people dont mind helping, but it sill takes time.

        1. So very true and I have tons of friends who went to "the online institutions" and received the same degree as myself, but are unable to find work…They may have saved themselves about an extra $10,000, but was it worth it?? Plus, I am so not a big fan of them because if you receive an MBA and don't know how to use MS Office, let alone MS Excel, that's a problem…

        2. Peter there are people who went to reputable colleges and universities and can't use MS Office or Word or Excel…it depends on your field of study. I know network engineers and accountants with Masters degrees who can't use any of those.

    2. let me tell you something. i was accepted to ivy league institutions for undergrad and i'm so glad that i decided not to pursue that avenue. when it came time for grad school i was pressured once again to pursue a big name school and once again i bucked the trend. it REALLY isn't where you graduated from.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

      1. Yes and no. I think it depends on the field your in and where your located. But like I said Public or Private those factors play a big part.

      2. to this is a yes and no too.

        The Ivies have money. All the grads I know who come out of them are debt free. And some had parents were making 100k+ and they never had to pay up.
        If I know someone got accepted to Ivy I say go, because there is a better chance the money is good. Its these BROKE private institutions who are really taking money and running with it.
        My recent post Music Review: Big K.R.I.T

        1. I’m not talking about whether they have money or not, I’m referring to it doesn’t matter where you graduate from. Most of the time if you are middle to low income and get accepted into an ivy league , you probably have amazing grades and test scores or your apart of some special program, either way when the school accepted you, they knew they would have to pay for most of your expenses. (But some of those kids who parents make 100K plus and go to the ivy’s for free are usually apart of legacies or their parents have donated huge amounts of money, or they have a connection) I agree broke private institutions are the problem, and most of the time they’re not even broke just greedy.
          (My school spent millions on a bball coach for the division one team, yet couldn’t foot me a few extra dollars when they messed up my expense calculations and I ended up having to ask my parents for help.)

      3. I completely feel you. Honestly I detest the classroom structure, and sitting anywhere longer than 45 minutes is torture. But the "show me game" has killed more than a few friendships in my day, so I wll begrudgingly acquiesce. 🙁

      4. ditto. went to state school for undergrad and ivy league for grad school. I will never recommend the ivy league route to anyone. my experience is that administration and faculty feel that you are walking away with a name so they don't have to do much for you while you are there.
        My recent post Notes on Writing: The Solitude Myth

      1. good point Doc J…this is true. However my thing is this, for the things they are getting for free, I think the higher taxes are well worth it and I personally wouldn't mind paying them. We pay high taxes in the U.S. and still have to pay for every damn thing.
        For instance my ex who was Dominican told me that in the DR they pay taxes on houses only one time, when they first purchase the house.

        1. Once they pay the taxes that one time they never have to pay them again. I will kindly take that deal as opposed to paying real estate tax, county tax, sewer tax, recycle tax, etc etc etc for the rest of my natural life unless I sell the house. And if I buy another house the taxes start all over again. Either way you look at it your paying taxes the rest of your life. And don't get me started on school tax, which is supposed to go towards the public school system. This should just be eliminated altogether. More & more of my friends with kids are home-schooling their kids and letting them do online school and they love it. They all say the public school system is terrible and private school tuition is practically the same cost as college tuition. It's just ridiculous.
          If we could see our tax dollars being consistently put to good use then that would be a different story. But what is fustrating to people is when your paying taxes for things that are not truly benefitting your and your family the way they should. Feels like a ripoff.

  12. I consider myself fortunate that I have paid of my undergrad loans and thankful that I had some years in the military under my belt to offset the cost of said loans. I don't think I'd go into debt over education ever again. If the company isn't paying for it or there is no scholarship involved, forget it.

    A few years ago I wised up when I saw countless friends plunging into grad school. For some, it was necessary for job advancement but for many, it became extra letters behind their name and they were getting close to the same pay as folks with undergrads but steeper loans. I doubt I could wrap my mind around someone being in debt in excess of $200K. Hell, I have a mortgage that is less than that. the OP is right in effect that the more education you get, the heavier you are penalized for it and that is the current American way.

    1. I know a lot of people who are using grad school as a fall back plan, if they don’t find a job right away (6 months to 8 months). To me that’s not a great idea if you aren’t going for free or at least 80% of it is being paid for by an outside source. Plus most people fresh out of college (unless they are going to be a doctor, lawyer, or something in the science field) have no solid idea of what they want to spend the rest of their lives doing. There's nothing like getting a master in a field that you end up hating 2 years in.
      I say see what you can do with the BA you have now, get in the door then explore your options. Plus you need some type of valuable work exerperience for that master degree to hold weight.

      1. I'm working the hell out of this paid for yet totally unrelated bachelors that I have. Matter of fact, it's kept me consistently employed during all of these up and downturns over the last decade. Stay versatile!

  13. I attended a top undergraduate university and have tons of loans. On one hand, they did give me a good amount of aid, but considering the school is so expensive that didn't help much. If My mom had about 5 more kids I would have been good. I have lots to say on the student loan issue since I am in the thick of it but I will harp on one issue.

    As Tunde mentioned, just because you don't have students, that doesn't mean you are not affected by this epidemic. I am tired of the people who say "you should to to a state school, you should get scholarships" blah blah blah. Its not that easy. And I know people who paid less that me and went to state or community colleges and their degrees are worth a whole lot less as well. But I digress. The main point is that you cannot have a healthy economy with a small percentage of the population, the same population that you need to carry the weight of this country, up to their necks in debt. I forget the stat, but we have 14bil in credit card debt spread across 80% of the population and the same amount in student loans spread across 13% of the population.

    While Reps and Dems argue over percentages, many economist have been trying to raise the red flag. As students loan defaults increase we will see the next economic blow. And young people will not have the financial ability to help the country pick up the pieces. Young kids are too busy living with Mom and Dad to buy the tons of houses on the market, participate in the economy etc. This hurts everyone. And this is the same generation who is supposed to work enough to pay the SS of the baby boomers.. the same generation who got us into this mess.
    My recent post Music Review: Big K.R.I.T

    1. "you should to to a state school, you should get scholarships" blah blah blah. Its not that easy. And I know people who paid less that me and went to state or community colleges and their degrees are worth a whole lot less as well.”

      Thank you. Different schools have different ranks, and you pay to be a part of that. Now there are ways to cut the cost. Some people go to community or a cheaper school for the first 2 yrs than transfer to a private school (or very good public school) for the last 2 years. There are some amazing state schools out there but even they are having trouble providing financial help for all students. So even if you do go to the state school, you might not get any fin aid, or very little. So you still end up with a loan with a sky high interest rate.

  14. I'm torn. I see the need and rationale behind this logic, but there are so many institutions and departments that are funded by the fed; each one affecting the lives of millions of Americans! That makes it very difficult to say what money goes where and prioritizing one institution over another is not completely objective either. I feel for our president.

    I had my undergraduate education funded with an athletic scholarship, but I'm a pending medical school matriculant, potentially placing me in that $250K plus bracket.

    Due to a personal lack of faith in a corrupted system, I say that we as advanced degree seeking students seek ways to minimize our debt, the most obvious of which being financial intelligence. Worst case scenaio, we're stuck with with a minimized debt load and using mounting assets to take huge stabs at it incrementally.
    My recent post #tweegram (Taken with instagram)

  15. I feel like I cheated. Although I attend a CUNY technical school in the the city, I put most of it on credit cards and then filed bankruptcy when i was done. And simply worked on rebuilding my credit..it worked!

    1. I applaud your savvy in gaming this rigged system and winning. I charged a couple summer classes at CCNY, so I don't need to see your receipts.

    2. Im not even gonna hold you up…I laughed first then said damn that was smart you juked the system lol

  16. My feelings on the student loan situation are really complex.

    In general my most pressing issue with student loans is the fact that we're placing a higher cost on higher education, and simultaneously decreasing the ROI on it. The concept of paying more for less, even accounting for inflation, is just wild to me. But couple that with the fact that you're being forced to put yourself into debt to finance an education to get a piece of paper that is worth now what a high school diploma was worth fifteen years ago and I call bullshiggidy. The economics of education are mind-boggling to me — and it really just translates into continuing the conservative trend of constricting the ability for people to move up beyond the lower class while simultaneously selling the "American Dream." (Sidenote: when did "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" become code for blaming the poor for being poor?! I just can't with the far right sometimes.)

    With that said, I think there's also an increasing need for young folks, both minorities and otherwise, to really understand how to take control of their financial and educational future as best as possible. The best gift my mother ever gave me was sitting me down and teaching me how to evaluate whatever financial decisions upthread.

    1) Don't take any old loan package they give you. Negotiate. Call up Financial Aid, or Sallie Mae, or the bank and find someone who is willing to give you a little more leeway. You may not always be successful, but it doesn't hurt to be persistent. (This applies to both before you apply to school, and after you matriculate).

    2) Nobody tells you at 18 that credit history is real, and sticks with you for years. I know way too many people that went hard in the paint maxing out credit cards and ignoring bills and are now pushing 30 and can't get an apartment on their own because their score is less than Steve Nash's 1 rep bench press max. If you add that to to your loans, you're gonna be digging out of a hole for decades. AND if you try to get grad school loans after the fact….good luck trying to get a rate lower than 12 percent.

    3) Make sure you're taking out a loan for the right reasons, and/or using it the right way. Having a loan to fill the gaps in cost of education makes sense – even if you're given a full-tuition scholarship, there's still a lot that goes into cost of attendance that isn't covered – but if you're getting that check from financial aid at the beginning of every term and buying a new flat screen, you're doing too much.

    With all of this said, universities are for-profit institutions and will more often than not still find a way to latch onto your purse strings and never let go. I was more fortunate than most in undergrad, and it's allowing to be a little more accepting of pursuing loans as I'm weighing my future grad school plans. Reform is seriously key, especially with these new bankruptcy laws not allowing you to eliminate your student loan debt. But until that happens, be as informed as possible when making financial decisions with regards to education. There's almost always strings attached, but some you can live with more than others.
    My recent post inomallday: Chris Carter is dry snitching like a mug…..dude should've kept his mouth shut.

    1. as far as number 2 is concerned i'm so grateful for my mom who dealt with her own credit issues for a long time. she encouraged me not to get any credit cards while in college because i was going to have a hard time paying them back. based on the fact that i had a full ride (including room and board) i really didn't need to use a credit card. i lived a very basic college life and i'm thankful for that looking back.
      My recent post Take Me Back to 1953

    1. I know what I would do with $100K in loans. Stop accumulating college debt.

      But nobody wants to say that though…

    2. I'll just add my co-sign here, lol.

      I had grants my freshman year, fed loans for my sophomore and 1st semester of my junior year, then my job picked up the tab for 2nd semester of junior year and my senior year (tuition and books). I don't even feel worthy to comment on this post. I think I'm gonna thank God I only owed about $20K after graduation with a low interest rate and chill.

  17. First off I agree with the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. Also, I'll repeat what Dr. J said earlier, but try to in a more succinct manner:

    Both the Democrats and Republicans are in favor of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. The debate is how each party wants to pay for it.

    The Democrats want to close a tax loophole that benefits S-Corporations (so techinically it's not raising taxes, but closing a loophole…same difference I guess, but Grover Norquist would be proud of the wording, lol) to fund it

    Republicans want to take the funds from a "slush" fund in the Affordable Healthcare Act that is designated specially for aiding preventative women's health, to my understanding (breast examinations, OBGYN check ups, etc..)

    1. Now, obviously, this can't be proven, but with all the flack that the GOP is getting over women I'm almost positive they must have not read what the "slush" fund was used for when they pinpointed that to where the money should come from, lol. At any rate, it's politics as usual, as they say.

    2. This is a great summation of both sides. This is my main problem with the GOP argument: they keep claiming that they don't want to spend any extra money, yet its been proven time and time again that there ARE available funds they just don't like where they would come from (i.e. the aforementioned loopholes). They don't mind spending money, just not the money that's "theirs." They can claim trickle-down economics til they're blue in the face, that boldfaced lie hasn't helped anyone.
      My recent post inomallday: The fact that basic civil rights are a state issue is unbelievable to me.

  18. "but I'm a pending medical school matriculant, potentially placing me in that $250K plus bracket."

    potentially? try definitely. while in med school you probably won't work so you'll also be taking out loans for cost of living. this means an apartment, food, gas, etc. depending on what city you go to school in that 250 can easily eclipse 300K.
    My recent post Take Me Back to 1953


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