Tennessee Tech College Democrats and College Republicans say they are disappointed with both President Obama’s plan for dealing with student debt and the Republican candidates’ response.
President Obama’s Plan
Obama announced on Oct. 26 his plan that could bring relief to the 5.8 million Americans with student loans. The new plan would aid students who have two types of student loans: both direct government loans and government-backed private loans. Those two types of loans would be consolidated into one government loan with lower interest rates.
The student loan plan targets Obama’s younger supporters — a key part of his political base in 2008.
Tech College Republicans President Clay Stubblefield, however, says, as a young voter, he feels that Obama’s plan is lackluster.
“The percent change will lower a student’s monthly costs by next to nothing,” Stubblefield said. “If they are paying $200 a month, which is around how much it costs, the 5% decrease would only save them $10 a month.”
While the plan is meant to offer relief for students, on the same day that Obama unveiled his plan, the College Board, a website that offers student planning, reported that average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose 8.3 percent last year– that adds up to an extra $631.
GOP Candidate’s Response
The Republican candidates responded to Obama’s plan at a debate on Nov. 9 at Oakland University in Michigan.
All the candidates were present, but only two Republicans at the debate answered the students’ concerns. Texas Rep. Ron Paul suggested that the federal government should simply do away with student loans.
Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said he felt the issue was simply one of personal responsibility that didn’t have much to do with the government.
Gingrich called the current student-loan program absurd and said he supports forcing more students to take part in work-study programs. He said it would be a culture shock for American students to actually go to class, study, get out quickly, charge as little as possible, and emerge debt free by doing the right things for four years.
Stubblefield said he saw promise in the GOP’s plan to limit government intervention.
“When the government tries to get too involved, things get messy,” Stubblefield said.