Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


July 17, 2013

College student loans a double-edged sword

July 17, 2013 —     Utilizing low interest government loans to finance a college education has become a well-established tradition in this country.

    In fact, recently-published data says former college students, including those who left school short of a degree, owe a total of $1.1 trillion in outstanding loans.

    Student loans have been in the news with this month’s effective date of the doubling of the interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on federal subsidized Stafford loans.

    As recently as 2011, the average debt of a student borrower at graduation was $27,547, according to USA Today.

    That was up from the national average of $9,350 in 1993. It obviously reflects the higher costs of attending college during that 18-year period.

    A major component in rising college costs has been tuition increases at public institutions where state governments have been unable to keep pace with the cost of living because of declining state revenues.

    In Kentucky alone, the state budget has gone down by more than $1 billion since 2008 with public higher education taking cuts of more than $100 million.

     Kentucky college students owe an average of about $22,000, according to various sources.

    It is estimated today that student borrowers owe more for loans than household consumers owe for credit cards.

    So what’s the other edge of the sword for college loans?

    First and foremost, starting a career with significant personal debt is affecting the decisions that new grads are making about homes, jobs and other long-term commitments like marriage.

    A recent national report says student loans were making it more difficult for college graduates to borrow money to buy homes and cars or to start a small business.

    Another survey from last year found more than 13 percent of college graduates without jobs and nearly 17 percent of men between 25 and 34 and upwards of 10 percent of women in the same age range living with parents or other family members.

    It has been proposed that student loan interest be tied to the5 interest rate that banks pay the Federal Reserve.

    We believe that is a better plan than having the student loan interest rate become a political football each time it surfaces in Congress.

    We also support putting all student loans on an income-based payback plan instead of the current 10-year schedule.

    Unless the rules change, future college students won’t be able to afford pursuing their own American dream.

    Surely no one wants to return to the days when only the wealthy went to college.

Text Only
  • Juvenile justice bill finally wins passage

    We complained in this space last month that the General Assembly, specifically the Senate, was headed down the wrong path in its handling of Senate Bill 200, a carefully-crafted, broadly supported effort to modernize Kentucky’s juvenile justice laws.

    April 16, 2014

  • Numbers say stop fussin’ and start fixin’!

    We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again. It is long past time for Republicans like U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell to stop complaining about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and start working with the other party to fix the pieces of the massive law that need fixing.

    April 9, 2014

  • Benching Rupp Arena project a mistake

    Folks who believe that college basketball is more important than anything else in Kentucky apparently don’t serve in the State Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Snow days decision can wait no longer

    We had hoped this editorial would not have been necessary by the time you read it in today’s issue of the Journal-Times.

    March 26, 2014

  • Are some legislators smarter than experts?

    Ready - shoot - aim. No good deed goes unpunished. There’s the right way, the wrong way and the Frankfort way. We could go on with pithy sayings about the strange happenings at the State Capitol when the Kentucky General Assembly is in session.

    March 19, 2014

  • Shouldn’t majority rule mean smoke-free?

    Recent statewide polls show as many as 65 percent of Kentucky voters say they are in favor of outlawing smoking in workplaces and public facilities, including restaurants and bars.

    March 12, 2014

  • Legalized marijuana, hemp must be explored

    Whether you call it marijuana or cannabis or whether you believe someone can get high on industrial hemp, Kentucky is making history with both plants.

    March 5, 2014

  • We must protect against dating violence

    We were encouraged when the leadership of the Kentucky House of Representatives came forward last month with House Bill 8 to amend the domestic violence protection laws to shield unmarried individuals in dating relationships.

    February 26, 2014

  • Did Bluegrass Poll predict our future?

    Life may have become much simpler for Kentucky voters recently when the Bluegrass Poll released its most recent survey.

    February 19, 2014

  • Senate race poll attracts national spotlight

    “Mitch has met his match” shouted the headline on the Huffington Post, a trendy, online news aggregator and blog founded by socialite Arianna Huffington.

    February 12, 2014