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White House plan to increase YOUR student debt

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by lilycat, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. lilycat

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    Just thought I would pass along this email that came from AMSA. Usually I'm not a big fan of AMSA, but this is something I think is pretty important for all students. For anyone potentially considering consolidating student loans (from undergrad or med school) this could have a really big, negative impact on the amount you will pay back. If you care about this at all, take some of that time you spend on SDN and make your voice heard -- email, write letters, make phone calls to your senators, etc.
    -------------------------------------------------
    From AMSA President:

    For the past few months, in response to the promise of historically low fixed interest rates post July 1, the exec board and I have been scrambling to prepare loan education and loan consolidation resources for medical students: <a href="http://easnetwork.com/eas/associations/amsa.asp" target="_blank">http://easnetwork.com/eas/associations/amsa.asp</a>

    As you may have heard, this break that students are expecting and many of the benefits of consolidation have been challenged by a recent Bush initiative (see <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/28/national/28LOAN.html?ex=1021100137%26ei=1%" target="_blank">http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/28/national/28LOAN.html?ex=1021100137%26ei=1%</a>
    26en=caf57c77034673d8#top). Currently, when a student borrower consolidates his/her loans, the interest rate is fixed throughout the life of the loan, a particular advantage now, since interest rates are low. Bush's recent budget proposal seeks to make the interest rate variable (would change every year) rather than fixed; this could result in a substantial increase in the amount
    you would have to pay should you opt to consolidate.

    Ted Kennedy is on our side (see article below). But he needs our help. Bush is trying to push this through fast with Sallie Mae and other lenders supporting him (incidently EAS, AMSA's lender is lobbying on the other side on behalf of students).

    Rob Levy, AMSA legislative affairs director is preparing a legislative action. Please stayed tuned and ready to answer the call...this time
    its your money at stake!

    Good luck!
    Jaya Agrawal, AMSA President

    Kennedy rips Bush plan to let college loan rates float Cut may save $1.3b but raise student costs
    By Mary Leonard, Globe Staff, 4/29/2002

    WASHINGTON - Senator Edward M. Kennedy vowed yesterday to block what he called a ''misguided proposal'' by the Bush administration to end fixed
    interest rates on federal-student loans and shift as much as $1.3 billion in expected savings to other parts of the budget. The White House idea, reported over the weekend, would require millions
    of college students and graduates consolidating their education loans to pay variable rather than fixed interest rates, which would be recalculated
    every year. Student loans consolidated this year will be repaid at a fixed rate of 5.99 percent.
    Kennedy predicted the proposal would mean higher costs for the millions of young Americans who spend years paying off college loans.

    ''By placing college loans out of reach of more and more students, this misguided proposal heads the country in the wrong direction,'' the Massachusetts Democrat said. ''College loans mean better lives for millions of young Americans, but the Bush administration is slashing education to pay for more and more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.

    ''When it comes to education, it's wrong to rob Peter to pay Paul,'' Kennedy added. ''I will do everything in my power as chairman of the Senate
    Education Committee to stop this wrongheaded plan in its tracks.''

    Kennedy said he would hold a press conference at Northeastern University today to protest the proposed changes and, later this month, hold a
    hearing on the issue in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
    Aides to the senator, who has worked closely with President Bush on elementary and secondary education reforms, said he was ''blindsided''
    by this proposal and dismayed that he had not been consulted by the White House.

    Administration officials estimate that ending fixed rates on future loan consolidations could result in budget savings of $1.3 billion in the
    next fiscal year. The federal government subsidizes the loans, making up the difference between prevailing interest rates and the borrowers' fixed rate.

    ''There are good reasons to look at this from a taxpayers' perspective because taxpayers would have to pay an additional $1.3 billion for the
    subsidy,'' said Trent Duffy, spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.
    The administration is looking for items to cut to make up for budget shortfalls, including an estimated $1.2 billion deficit in Pell grants,
    a college-aid program for low-income students. GOP lawmakers in the House are considering making the student-loan changes in the $27 billion
    emergency budget package to fund counterterrorism measures. Kennedy and other Democrats said yesterday that they will argue that any
    modifications in the major federal student loan programs should be made in 2003, when Congress takes up the five-year reauthorization of the
    higher-education programs.

    Later this week, Kennedy is expected to release a study on the challenges students will face in coming years meeting college costs. According to
    the report, states plan to cut $5.5 billion from higher-education budgets over the next two years. According to the American Association of State
    Colleges and Universities, students at state institutions in California, Massachusetts, and Illinois will face double-digit tuition increases
    this fall. If these trends continue, 110,000 students would be unable to afford college next fall, says the report, which was prepared by Senate Democratic staffers.

    The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit advocacy group, estimated yesterday that a person with a $17,000 consolidated student
    loan would pay $2,800 more over 10 years and $6,400 more over 20 years with a variable rate versus a fixed rate loan.

    Officials with American Student Assistance, the private, nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans in Massachusetts, were unable yesterday to
    produce a figure for the number of people statewide who are currently paying down
    student loans. They estimated that as many as 150,000 students in Massachusetts take out student loans each year.

    ''The bottom line for us is we think this is a bad deal for students,'' said Ellynne Bannon, the group's higher-education specialist. ''It all
    appears to be a hollow attempt by those in the loan industry to raise their own profit margins at the expense of students.''

    This story ran on page A2 of the Boston Globe on 4/29/2002.
     
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  3. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned
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    I dont want to see this change but Kennedy's comments are a little off base.

    When he says "its wrong to rob Paul to pay Mary" what does he mean?

    Although I hope the fixed rate stays in place, I disagree with his view that we have a right to these federal funds. Its a privilege. Its a privilege that I think we should have, but nonetheless it is a privilege. The way Kennedy states it, the federal government is stealing money from us.
     
  4. psyche

    psyche Member

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    In addition to mangling the phrase "robbing Peter to pay Paul," I think you're missing the point here, MacGyver. The phrase is a metaphor and, in this case, means moving money around in the federal budget without addressing the fundamental reason for shortfalls(tax cuts for the wealthy). Don't mean to speak for Senator Kennedy, but I believe coming from MA gives me the right to speak on his behalf.
     
  5. SMW

    SMW Grand Member

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    I saw that too, and my heart fell, considering the amount of debt I'm likely to have at the end of med school. Please, everyone, let Congress know what a bad idea this is.
     
  6. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member

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    Shamefully, I've never emailed or written any political appeal letters to make my voice heard. Whom must I email/write to?
     
  7. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

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    The best people to write are your two senators and one congressman in your district. You can find their addresses at <a href="http://www.house.gov" target="_blank">www.house.gov</a> and <a href="http://www.senate.gov." target="_blank">www.senate.gov.</a> It is more effective to send snail mail or fax.

    As a private pilot, I contacted my senators and congressman to express support for normalizing the airspace in the months following Sept. 11. It was a very positive experience. All three sent me "personalized" letters in return, discussing what they were doing about the situation. Two of them have also sent follow-up letters discussing recent developments. It may have been a bunch of BS, but I felt that I was heard. And the FAA lifted the airspace restrictions that I had expressed support for.

    Good luck.
     
  8. Dr. Will

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    Hey guys, this is already in the lounge
     
  9. lilycat

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    Dr. Will -- I know -- I purposely cross-posted it to make sure it got some exposure and attention. I know there are a lot of people who only check Pre-Allo and never check the Lounge and vice versa. "Everyone" probably would have been the best place to post it, but unfortunately that doesn't get as much attention as it used to.
     
  10. Dr. Will

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by lilycat:
    <strong>Dr. Will -- I know -- I purposely cross-posted it to make sure it got some exposure and attention. I know there are a lot of people who only check Pre-Allo and never check the Lounge and vice versa. "Everyone" probably would have been the best place to post it, but unfortunately that doesn't get as much attention as it used to.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">My bad! Didn't realize that!
     
  11. Dr. Will

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    Oops! Didn't even realize you posted both of them lilycat. For some reason I thought two different people posted the same thread. Where is my head today?
     
  12. reesie0726

    reesie0726 Senior Member

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    Yeah, lilycat, I am glad that you posted this here b/c I onl check pre-allo. I had no idea that this plan was floating around in d.c. I am going to write a letter to my senator/congressman.
     
  13. dwstranger

    dwstranger Senior Member

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    BTW, e-mail (or fax) is probably the best way to go when contacting your legislators. Many of them state (on their websites) that they aren't even accepting snail mail anymore after that anthrax stuff went down...
     
  14. crazygop

    crazygop Member

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    Imagine that, Bush wants us to be responsible for paying for our own education instead of poor taxpayerers subsidizing our student loans. Stop whining and get real - you'll be able to hack it. Democrats are LIARS. Wake up. Do you really think 110,000 people are going to be denied a college education next year because of this loan proposal?
     
  15. Mutterkuchen

    Mutterkuchen Senior Member

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    crazypop, the question fundamentally is, does the government have a role in education in America. If the president decided to eliminate all taxpayer funding for high school, there would be a hugh public uproar. Most people feel that the government has an important role in education.

    Most industrialized nations fund university education much more heavily than the US. It is essentially free in Europe and is very cheap in Canada. The same goes for the Japanese, who value education very highly.

    Having an educated society pays rich dividends to the overall economy and the government has a strong interest in promoting higher education. Making it more difficult to get loans (not even grants) does not promote education.
     
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  17. trouta

    trouta Senior Member

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    Today on CNN.com there is a story indicating that the Bush admin is backing away from this plan under pressure from Democrats.

    Here is the link:

    <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2002/fyi/teachers.ednews/05/01/budget.college.reut/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.cnn.com/2002/fyi/teachers.ednews/05/01/budget.college.reut/index.html</a>
     

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