The Right to Crushing Debt

The Department of Education and American colleges are now negotiating new rules about student debt. One proposal would change the rules for federal funding such that institutions would be ineligible for federal student loan money if graduates were saddled with student loans where the annual debt repayment was more than eight percent of graduates’ salaries.

Some colleges object. In an opinion piece in the Chicago Tribute one administrator complains that:

This proposed “gainful employment” rule, tying levels of federal student loans to projected starting salaries upon graduation, not only violates student rights, but is also highly discriminatory against adult learners attending career colleges and universities.

Student debt is a concern; however, these concerns do not merit an imposition of new rules and regulations that harm non-traditional students and the schools they attend. Tying starting estimated future salaries to tuition costs and the student’s ability to borrow is nothing more than price fixing and government interference.

This is a intriguing perspective. A violation of student rights! While it’s true that the sort of students paying more than eight percent of their income to service student loans are mostly nontraditional students from low-income backgrounds, these are also the students getting scammed by overpriced for-profit schools of questionable legitimacy. The eight percent rule wouldn’t hurt the students, it would only hurt the institutions they attend.

Then again, the piece was written by Arthur Keiser. Keiser is the chancellor of Keiser University, on-line, for-profit school in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer