Today the aggregate student loan debt is over on trillion dollars

Today the aggregate student loan debt is over on trillion dollars

Over the last 25-30 years there has been a shift in who bears the cost of attending college from the federal and state governments to students and their parents, and that has entailed more and navigate to the web-site more student loans. We are seeing increasingly that college students are taking on more debt to get a college degree to get jobs that might not actually be there in the end.

On an individual level student loan debt makes it harder for college graduates to maintain a prosperous middle class existence

There are three major ideas to address this crisis. Senator Rubio has offered a market-based proposal that would create a legal structure for income-share agreements. Essentially an investor would front money to students. The repayment and presumably the interest rate would be based on a percentage of future income. She has also proposed to set federal loan interest rates to those that the big banks can get from the Federal Reserve. And she has proposed to put an end to the profits that the federal government makes on the direct student loan program. The President has offered the Student Loan Forgiveness Program and Pay As You Earn Student Loan Repayment Plan.

All these approaches need to be codified in the authorization language of the US Department of Education. Moreover the bankruptcy law should be changed to allow the discharge of student loan debt.

Most of the action in K-12 education is at the state and local levels. But the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the No Child Left Behind Act) is actively being debated in Congress. The Act has long been expired, but is provisions are still undertaken by the Department of Education through a system of waivers to the various states. Efforts to formally renew the law via a bill called the Student Success Act have stalled as last month House leaders suspended debate on the bill and delayed voting on it. The Senate still has not revealed its version of the renewal.

Senator Warren has proposed to make available to private student loans the same interest rate as federally-backed ones

One should note that the National Science Teachers Association and the STEM Education Coalition have opposed the Student Success Act. Others have opposed it as well on the grounds that it still leaves too much federal involvement in K-12 education. The Administration has issued a veto threat on the current form of the bill.

Adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is probably the most consequential K-12 policy debate today. CCSS has opponents from all quarters, including those who call it ‘Obama’s national curriculum’. But it is important to note that the standards are not curriculum, and CCSS was initiated and developed by the state governors and chief state school officers. The Obama administration did heavily incentivize the adoption of CCSS through billions in federal grants and NCLB waivers, but CCSS and NGSS are not federal programs.

So far the NGSS has not garnered the kind of opposition that CCSS has. There is a growing recognition though that the math part of NGSS should be harmonized with NGSS since math maturity plays such a heavy role in science literacy.

Another issue that is very important to schools and libraries is something E-rate. This program provides funding for urban and rural schools and public libraries for broadband internet, thus is very important for closing the digital divide. The program is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has proposed a major budget increase for the program. Several members of the House and Senate, including Senator Cory Booker, have urged the FCC to increase funding for E-rate, to modernize the program authorization given new technology availability, and to reduce the program’s administrative overhead.