Speaker John Boehner doesn’t like President Obama’s idea to make community college free, which would help lessen the amount of debt students find themselves with after graduating college. Community colleges are actually a great way to get the first two years of college out of the way without going into crippling debt while trying to get through English 101 or other core classes all college students have to take before really diving into their degree studies. Like many other Americans, I also went to community college.
Starting at the age of 15, I took a few night classes here and there in addition to high school studies before finally going on a full-time basis. Thanks to Pell Grants and low tuition costs, I was able to graduate from Blue Ridge Community College without a penny in debt, unlike a number of my friends who decided to go straight to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and other schools in nearby states.
That was over a decade ago and since then, student loan debt has only increased. I was fortunate enough to escape college with only about $15,000 in student loan debt, but other people I know have much more than that.
The average amount of student loan debt again crept up for the Class of 2013, and is approaching $30,000, according to a new report from the Institute for College Access and Success.
In its ninth annual report on student loan debt, TICAS found nearly 7 in 10 graduating seniors in 2013 – 69 percent – left school with an average of $28,400 in student loan debt, an increase of 2 percent from 2012. But the amount of student debt and the likelihood of graduating with debt varied greatly between both states and colleges. Some states had average debt amounts as low as $18,656, while others topped $30,000. Between different colleges, average debt amounts ranged from $2,500 to $71,000. (Source)
President Obama’s proposal of making community college free for students who want to work for it would go a long way towards cutting the amount of debt graduates find themselves with. In turn, having less debt coming out of college would make it easier for these people to get loans for cars and homes, a big help to the economy. Many people my age are still trying to pay off student loans and buying a new vehicle or purchasing a home is completely out of the question unless you’re making a fat paycheck as a lawyer or perhaps, a member of Congress.
Speaker Boehner decided to get down on our “level” and explain to voters 18-35 why free community college was a bad idea, by utilizing Taylor Swift GIFs. Apparently someone in his staff thought this was a smart plan of action, by demonstrating how painfully out of touch Speaker Boehner and the rest of Congress is with the American people. Digital Communications Director Caleb Smith and Deputy Communications Director Mike Ricci put together this Buzzfeed-styled link titled “12 Taylor Swifts GIFs for you” which Speaker Boehner’s Facebook page and Twitter account posted and it’s every bit as eye twitch inducing as the title suggests.
Newsflash guys: Buzzfeed is sooooo 2013. What’s even more laughable is that Speaker Boehner and Republicans are actually quibbling over something that will help reduce student debt and help the economy because “60 billion dollars is a lot of money…you can’t just shake it off.” This isn’t $60 billion annually, this is $60 billion over ten freaking years ($6 billion annually for the mathematically challenged). That’s a tiny drop in the federal budget. You know what’s a lot of money that’s being wasted? How about the F-35 stealth jet development budget which is now at $400 billion and won’t have an operational 25mm cannon until 2019, which means that for the first three years of use, pilots are basically unarmed at close range? Hmmmm?
Or how about the trillions of dollars they had absolutely no problem spending on destabilizing the Middle East? How about bailing out Wall Street banks that then turned around and screwed homeowners over as their way of saying “thanks” to the American taxpayer? God forbid we spend a mere fraction of that money making sure that our college graduates get a better chance at the American Dream, apparently.
Mr. Speaker: an apology is in order and it isn’t from the president – it should be from you and your office. Here’s to shaking you off in 2016.
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