Support H.R.4170 - The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012
  • Petitioned Rep. J. Randy Forbes

This petition was delivered to:

Rep. J. Randy Forbes

Support H.R.4170 - The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012

    1. Petition by

      Aging With Student Debt

We, the undersigned, fervently urge you to support H.R.4170: The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, introduced on March 8, 2012 by Rep. Hansen Clarke (MI). And more than support, we encourage you to co-sponsor this important, life-changing bill.

H.R.4170 is a fair repayment plan. This 10-10 plan proposes 10 years of repayment at 10% of the borrower’s discretionary income (discretionary income is defined as 150% of poverty level). At the end of repayment, any remaining balance is forgiven and is not considered taxable income.

For younger borrowers this will afford them the opportunity to better plan for their futures, knowing there is an end in sight, they can manage their student loan payments rather than be enslaved by them.

For older borrowers it means they have the hope of actually repaying their loans before retirement age and not fear garnishments to monthly Social Security checks; for many in this economy SS may be their sole source of income at retirement.

While the word “forgiveness’’ in the title of this bill describes a legal action, the moral implication of the word is inaccurate. Student loan borrowers have done nothing requiring forgiveness. We have fulfilled our side of the social contract and, in return, have become enslaved to a lifetime of debt.

FACT: Since 1980, average tuition for a 4-year college education has increased 827% http://tinyurl.com/7ohxq5h

FACT: Since 1999, average student loan debt has increased by 511%
http://tinyurl.com/3gdfwnn

FACT: In 2010, total outstanding student loan debt exceeded total outstanding credit card debt in America for the first time ever http://tinyurl.com/3y9koxy

FACT: Total outstanding student loan debt now exceeds $1 Trillion 
http://tinyurl.com/2fegw9d

FACT: This debt impacts the lives of individuals of ALL ages. In March 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of NY released student loan balances by borrowers age:
• Under 30    33.9%   $295 billion
• 30 to 39     32.8%   $285 billion 
 

• 40 to 49     16.4%   $142 billion 
 

• 50 to 59     11.3%     $98 billion 
 

• 60 & over    4.2%     $36 billion 
 

• Unknown     1.4%     $12 billion
http://tinyurl.com/6uxncud

FACT: Consumer protections have been stripped away. Unlike other unsecured consumer loans there is no statute of limitations, these loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, nor can they be refinanced. With credit card debt, account holders in good standing often enjoy reduced interest rates—not true of student loans. These debts follower borrowers to their graves. 
http://tinyurl.com/y46sw9v

FACT: Also unlike other unsecured consumer loans, the interest on student loans is capitalized--this practice is exempt from State usury laws. It is these industry practices that make managing payments unreasonable and impossible. 
http://tinyurl.com/2abz6fb

More facts here: http://tinyurl.com/cfeak78

In short, student loan debt has become the latest financial crisis in America and, if we do absolutely nothing, the entire economy will eventually come crashing down again, as it did when the housing bubble popped. Reasonable minds can disagree as to the solutions but they cannot disagree on the existence of this ever-growing crisis, as well as the unsustainable course we're on toward financial oblivion.

As a result of more than 30 years of treating higher education as an individual commodity, rather than a public good and an investment in our collective future, we find:
• Those buried under the weight of their student loan debt are not buying homes or cars
• They are not starting businesses or families 

• They're not investing, inventing, innovating or otherwise engaged in any of the economically stimulative activities that we need all Americans to be engaged in. 

If we're ever to dig ourselves out of the giant hole created by the greed of those at the very top, this must be remedied!

This bill, and the wrongs it proposes to right, is not a political bargaining chip. 
It is not a right vs. left, nor a party issue—it is a human issue!

Please, show us that you are more concerned about the citizens who elected you, and that you swore to represent by upholding the constitution, than you are about enabling those responsible for increasing profits for a corrupt system that continues to oppress millions of student loan borrowers.

We respectfully request that you do the right thing and support H.R.4170.

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Gordon Wayne Watts LAKELAND, FL
      • over 2 years ago

      Good points, Randyl.

      But you miss the key "cause-and-effect" relationship --in other words, yes, the problems you outline are important, but what solutions do you propose to prevent it from recurring?

      Skyrocketing tuition is going through the roof (at a rate MUCH faster than inflation, even though this is no justification exists: Quality of American Higher Education has gone DOWN, as America keeps falling behind other nations in math, sciences, job skills, etc.).

      But WHY?

      Well, removal of bankruptcy protections from student loans, combined with draconian collection powers (such as wage garnishment) on already inflated original principals, combined with VERY heavy late fees, penalties, and interest, mean that the Department of Education makes about $1.22 for every dollar of defaulted student loans, and private lenders make a similar (if not greater) amount.

      Since the Dept of Ed benefits more when students default, they have NO incentive to advise U.S. Congress to STOP raising the loan limits for Student Loans, and, of course, when students can borrow more, dishonest colleges & Universities "raise tuition to match" the increased borrowing abilities of students --even though not justified (quality of Education plummets).

      Since college tuition has increased at a rate MUCH faster than inflation for decades, college is no longer affordable.

      Also, removal of said Standard Consumer Protections AFTER the student signed the loan contract illegally violates well-settled Contract Law, and, of course, violates Equal Protection, insofar as Student Loans are the *only* types of loans NOT granted these 'Standard Consumer Protections' (truth in lending; bankruptcy proceedings; statutes of limits; the right to refinance; adherence to usury laws; and, Fair Debt & Collection practices, etc.).

      Insofar as students were not notified of inability to file for bankruptcy, due to the lack of "truth in lending laws," this law, singling out student loans, also violated their fundamental Due Process under law. LOL --so much for the rule of law here!!

      oops -- I forgot 2 other things that were probably illegal about how colleges treat student loans:

      1. Since American colleges hold a monopoly on Higher Ed in this country, their price-gouging is illegal. Monopoly by, say, electric or phone companies would cause a revolt, but students aren't as numerous as say homeowners or renters, so they're easily victimised. (Doesn't this remind us how how ALL 'minority groups' which "aren't as numerous" as the "majority" groups -be they women, Blacks, or -as in my case -Native American Indians have been mistreated?) Plus,...

      2. it can be argued that the students signed under duress, since the job market's hard even for those WITH college educations, much less those without.

      In fact, while many people would say students "had a choice," at least ONE Attorney General disagrees. Observe:

      Illinois attorney general's office plans to sue Westwood College

      Among the complaints against the for-profit school are poor job-placement rates, high-pressure sales tactics, low graduation rates, excessive profit margins and the burdening of students with crushing debt

      January 18, 2012|By Gregory Karp, Chicago Tribune reporter

      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-18/business/ct-biz-0118-westwood-20120118_1_illinois-attorney-office-plans-westwood-college

      (Fair Use excerpt) "The Illinois attorney general's office is lashing out at Westwood College, which has four Chicago-area campuses, claiming the institution misleads students enrolled in its criminal justice program, putting them deep in debt and saddling them with a nearly worthless degree for pursuing careers in Illinois law enforcement."

      See my friend's story on this issue: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2012/03/19/why-college-prices-keep-rising

      For further info, point your web browser to:

      www.GordonWatts.com/FannyDeregulation/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html

      or:

      www.GordonWayneWatts.com/FannyDeregulation/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html

      for documentation of this -and for how this has contributed to a SPIKE in Student Suicides, for the first time in our nation's history -- SOMEBODY has blood on their hands...

      Gordon Wayne Watts - LAKELAND, Fla.

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