Student Loan Debt
Friday, Nov 4, 2011 10:00 AM 10:09:48 EDT
Forgive student debt, fight the recession
The founder of the loan forgiveness movement on how to turn a $1 trillion problem into prosperity
By Robert Applebaum
A week ago , President Obama unveiled a series of executive orders to address the ever-growing student loan debt crisis in America. Billed by the White House as a direct response to a petition I created on the White House’s new “We the People” petition site, the president announced the implementation of already-passed changes to the government’s student loan program.
The changes could be found in the fine print. The Income Based Repayment (IBR) program included in last year’s Affordable Care Act would be moved up from 2014 to 2012. And certain types of federal loans would be eligible for consolidation and enrollment in IBR. That was it. That was the entirety of the president’s response to a petition signed by over 30,000 Americans calling for across-the-board student loan forgiveness as a means of economic stimulus. Obama also announced the creation of a new form that would allow people to calculate their educational costs and repayment obligations. Inspirational? Hardly.
Here’s the problem: there’s only so much the president can do on his own without a Congress willing to do the job it was elected to do. So while I was disappointed by just how little the president’s new initiative would help the vast majority of Americans drowning in student loan debt, I was encouraged by the fact that he at least acknowledged the problem: a $1 trillion student loan debt overhang that isn’t going away any time soon.