Support H.R.4170-The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012
  • Petitioned Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

This petition was delivered to:

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

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

    • George Pitcher OMAHA, NE
      • almost 2 years ago

      Please support HR4170 - because without this law - my family's future is very very bleak. I was always told that education was the key to success and higher education translated into higher pay. No one ever told me that I might be the exception to the rule - or that there was no guarantee that jobs would be waiting for me to graduate. Looking back I feel now like I was duped into getting a degree that did not translate into getting a job as a result, and so does my wife. Amy got her doctorate degree, but is struggling to pass her chiropractic boards and as a result cannot work at a level that would allow her the ability to pay back her $200,000 loans. When I went to school - everyone insisted that graphic designers were needed and well paid. So I got a degree - came out to find zero employment, when back to school for a master's degree and regret every educational choice we made as a result. Now I work two jobs and my wife works well beneath her educational level while preparing to take boards for a fourth time - we live pay check to pay check, have no savings and have to rely on credit cards just to meet the basic needs of our family. With my masters degree I teach illustration while working as a graphic designer full time. And while we both earn too much to apply for any state aid because of our combined gross income - we're financially destroyed due to crushing debt that we cannot get rid of. We aren't living large. We don't have expensive toys like mp3 players or ipods. We can't afford cable tv. We don't vacation. We don't eat out, we can't afford a movie, and haven't exchanged gifts for Xmas, or birthdays in 3 years. We have no unnecessary expenses we can trim. We earn decent wages and after you subtract our mortgage, utilities, food, insurance on cars, medical bills, and student loans - there isn't enough left over to put gas in the car or to replace the jeans I've worn holes into. If you look at the gross - we're earning a modest wage and are above the poverty line - but with student loans - we're broke, in financial collapse and there's no help in sight. If I was Donald Trump and filed my taxes as a business - I could say this was an investment went sour and file for bankruptcy - but we don't have that option. Student loans have destroyed our means to survive and the problem will only snowball in 3 months time when she is no longer able to defer her loans. Then we are truly in trouble. We bet on our future - secure in the knowledge that an education was the best way to ensure our success - and that gamble did not pay off. HR4170 could save our family, and our future. Please sign it.

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