Thursday, November 1, 2007

Student loans depend on voters

Student loans depend on voters; a headline in the Austin American Statesman written by Ralph Haurwitz immediately converted to a 60 point font and started shouting at me to read as I recognized my status in the title. The role of being a college student is very challenging and like everything else, money is always a stressful factor. Figuring out how to pay for an education, while also maintaining a job to support yourself in the mean time isn’t all that easy. However, education is the key to success these days and may result in a bright future if accomplished. Therefore, the importance of going to school is a high demand, but for those who simply can’t afford it, they must rely on student loans and financial aid to cover tuition until graduation.

With that said, the November 6 ballot will hold two propositions that relate to college students and money. Proposition one would tune up the constitution to reflect the fact that the Legislature has shifted Angelo State University from the Texas State University system to the Texas Tech University system. The second proposition would authorize the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to borrow 500 million dollars for low interest loans to college students. Proposition two is the main focus.

Basically, the state issue’s bonds, which are like IOU’s and the investors who purchase them, are paid back over time with interest. The bond would not consume any tax dollars; instead investors would be reimbursed with the student loan payments. The average loan through the Hinson-Hazlewood program this year was for 9,300 dollars and the interest rate was 6 percent. In 2009, the coordinating board’s bonding authority will run out if proposition 2 is not passed.

The bond is left to the voters to determine whether or not either proposition will be approved. Supporters for the proposition one say the longstanding program doesn’t cost taxpayers anything because the students’ loan payments are used to pay back bond debt and cover administrative expenses. Those against the proposition say the program puts private lenders at a disadvantage because, unlike government agencies, they need to make a profit. I think people should consider the fact that college is an important step in life and is something that everyone should get an opportunity to pursue. College is very expensive and tuition will only increase in price as more and more students enroll in college. Five hundred million dollars is a big chunk of money and would really be helpful for those who rely on student loans and since the proposition isn’t going to effect taxpayers then there should be no question on whether or not to pass the bond. The quote, “children are our future,” should be directed as children need a good education in order to have a future because the future that awaits is going to be very tough without a degree since the population of students attending college is growing at a fast rate. Hopefully voters will take into count the importance of student loan money being available for those who can’t afford to pay for school.

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