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Obama Announces “Student Aid Bill of Rights”

Posted on March 22nd, 2015  Posted by Kristen Yancey
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Earlier this month, President Obama introduced a set of intentional suggestions via a memorandum regarding our national student loan debt crisis. Essentially, the President is directing the federal government to act more aggressively in helping the record number of citizens struggling with massive student loan debt.

The modern knowledge-driven requires education for workers to make a standard of living to provide for themselves and their families. As the President said, “In America, a higher education cannot be a privilege reserved for only a few. It has to be available to everybody who’s willing to work for it.” (The President himself famously only finished paying off his own law school shortly before his run for the White House.) It is increasingly difficult to financially flourish without the benefits of increadingly expensive postsecondary education. Given this set of constraints, how can the government ensure assistance for student loan borrowers?

The Student Bill of Rights outlines several key goals for partners from across sectors – in government, business, and academia – to work toward.

  • Open access to affordable higher education

  • Pathways to attain financial resources needed to pay for college

  • Affordable repayment plans

  • Fair treatment and consumer protection for borrowers

A fair question on the minds of many borrowers is, so now what? Although this debt crisis has not yet stretched to the limits of the housing debacle, economists increasingly warn of signs of a looming student loan bubble. Now is the time for our leaders to be proactive and avoid our recent and abysmal mistakes, financially speaking.

The President’s initiative encourages the development of methods to establish a central system for loan complaints, which is a laudable goal. However, I wonder if student borrowers have the knowledge required to know that something is wrong with their experience? As these concepts come to fruition, I am hopeful for skilled professionals who can help studnts with assistance in identifying factors worthy of complaints in their borrowing history.

It is relatively disheartening, in my opinion, that the leader of the free world must assert the value that every student deserves access to a quality and affordable education in our country. The lack of connection between sound investment in our citizenry and the expectations required to be a thriving country seem to be growing apart. Our high school students are losing faith and trust in the importance of higher education and are afraid of the financial hardships. We cannot afford to lose the zeal and innovation of our young people. We need them to be courageous, not fearful, in order to be competitive in a global market.

Check out more details on the administration’s plan on What else do you think should be included in a Student Bill of Rights? What actions do you think the government should take in addressing the student loan crisis?

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