Student Aid Bill of Rights Signed by Obama

Student Aid Bill of Rights Signed by Obama

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President Barack H. Obama has made good on one of his higher education promises. On Tuesday the president signed a memorandum at Georgia Tech in Atlanta instructing the Department of Education and other federal agencies to discover ways to help students with loan repayments.

Dubbed the “Student Aid Bill of Rights,” Obama explained that the federal government should do more to help students encumbered by substantial student loans. The president reiterated the importance of a college education while noting how expensive it has become.

Several proposals have been floated already including creating new repayment options and improving customer service. Another proposal targets third-party lenders to urge them to inform borrowers about their repayment options. Some have been pushing for a centralized website where students can visit to find their loan information in one place. Making it easier to file complaints about lender indiscretions is another suggestion.

None of the proposals go far enough for some advocates. Student loan debt has now topped one trillion dollars, what some say should be reduced or completely forgiven. Neither proposal, however, will likely gain much support as the federal government continues to battle debt that is fast approaching $19 trillion.

Student Aid Bill of Rights

In a statement released by the White House related to the president’s speech, the administration spelled out the details in the Student Aid Bill of Rights:

I. Every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education at a college that’s cutting costs and increasing learning.

II. Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for college.

III. Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan.

IV. And every borrower has the right to quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment, even if they struggle to repay their loans.

The Obama administration also noted some of the accomplishments the federal government has accomplished since the president took office, including:

1. Raising the federal Pell grant by nearly $1,000 per year. The increase has happened incrementally over the past seven years.

2. Easing the process for applying for student aid. The Federal Application for Student Aid has been streamlined and simplified.

3. Simplifying and improving education tax benefits. Consumers are now able to better understand how these benefits work.

4. Creating pay-as-you-earn loans. These loans are repaid according to the recipients ability to repay them. Currently, loans repayments are limited to 10 percent of the graduate’s salary.

Tens of Millions in Debt

How many Americans still have student loans? That number is pegged at more than 40 million people or roughly one in eight Americans. Indeed, the student who graduates from college with debt is carrying an average burden of $28,000. That’s a number not easily retired, following many Americans well into middle age.

See AlsoHow to Whack Student Loan Debt

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