I, like so many others in this country, am finding it impossible to get ahead under the burden of enormous student loan debt. My wife and I have never missed a payment on our loans, at the cost of delaying our dreams. We cannot start businesses, invest in our actual talents, buy a house, or even a car. In short, we cannot achieve anything our age bracket should be doing to boost the economy because we are shackled with over $1000 in loan payments per month. Instead of providing the innovation our economy desperately needs, we are both forced to play it safe.
I realize I am incredibly lucky compared to most my age who cannot find work and are at best forced to move back in with their parents and put off having a family. However, this problem is not (despite what the media reports) limited to the young. I talk to many people everyday who should be enjoying their retirement years, but instead still find themselves under the indentured servitude of their federal and private student loans.
Many in this country (particularly in Congress!) simply aren't aware just how obscene the situation is, and offer out of touch platitudes such as "You signed the dotted line" or "I paid mine off you should too." The reality is that these loans are now predatory in nature. The terms (including basic consumer protections like bankruptcy) have been changed after the loans were dispersed, and interest is spiraling out of control. When Americans went to college just a few decades ago, it was possible to work your way through. With a part time job you could afford to pay for your entire semester's credits. Now, with ever-rising tuition, that reality is utterly lost.
I am not looking for a hand-out. Indeed I did sign the dotted line, but with the understanding that a good education is the way to better yourself and society as a whole. Throughout my entire life, I have been told that education is the most important thing in this country, yet we are treating it like a commodity. I want to pay my loans back, only I ask that the terms be made fair. HR4170 will go a long way to restoring some sanity to our current predatory system of funding higher education.
I would greatly appreciate your support on this matter, and ask that you co-sponsor Rep. Hansen Clarke's bill.
For more information, please view this petition link with well over a million signatures:
As well as this very helpful infographic: