America’s Debt, and Student Debt

The debt deal, reassuring as it may have been after such a long process, won’t be very good to college students.

According to an article by Candice Choi in the Chicago Sun-Times, political compromises made by both parties in order to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling mean that several federal college financing programs are in trouble.

Beginning a year from now graduate students won’t be eligible for subsidized federal loans. Forcing them to finance their educations with unsubsidized private loans could, according to the article, increase average graduate student debt by 16 percent.

Students also won’t receive discounts for making on-time payments on their student loans. The total financial impact of this particular change is unclear, since the discounts depend on when the loan was issued. But for a loan made last year, for instance, graduates get a .5 percent discount for making the payments on time. And now they won’t

In addition, the super committee of a dozen lawmakers may implement tax reforms to reduce the tax benefits families can claim as part of college savings.

These compromises, like so many of others reached in order to prevent Republicans from forcing a catastrophic national default on the country, were clearly not of the Obama administration’s choosing. Duly noted.

But two years ago Obama set a goal to make it so that the United States would have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. These new financial burdens on students and their families sort of look like the regulatory changes one would implement in order to get fewer people to go to college.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

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