Texas State students looking to secure financial aid benefits, loans and reduce the debt crisis need to cast their ballots in November for Barack Obama.
Many college students desire a presidential candidate who has plans to make college more affordable. The Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, each have different proposals for addressing the needs of college students.
According to an Aug. 22 Huffington Post article, a college student asked Romney his plans for tackling the student debt crisis at an Aug. 20 Manchester campaign stop. Romney’s response included that voters should not hold an expectation for him to increase Pell Grant awards or aid in their efforts to pay back student loans.
“I’m not going to promise all sorts of free stuff that I know you’re going to end up paying for,” Romney said at the Aug. 20 campaign stop. “What I want to do is give you a great job so that you’ll be able to pay it back yourself.”
According to the same Long Island Newsday article, four-year public college tuition and fee rates have increased 72 percent over inflation numbers during the past 10 years. This increase, in turn, has caused the average college student to borrow more than $24,000 for school.
Romney’s desire is to reduce and limit federal spending, address budget deficits and move more government functions to the private sector. According to a Sept. 7 New York Times article, Scott Fleming, a Romney education adviser, commented on financial aid. Fleming said if Romney were elected his plans would include making financial aid available to students who “need it most.”
According to the same article, this would inevitably mean criteria for eligibility would become stricter and fewer students would receive financial aid. Even though there has been no conclusive evidence Romney’s financial plan could work, he is confident it will.
What Romney has failed to see, though, is many students would not be able to afford college and receive an education without the help of Pell Grants and government student loans. Borrowing money and receiving aid may not be an option for many college students. With the increasing prices of college tuition and other costs associated with higher education, it is unfathomable to suggest otherwise. Obama understands the financial difficulties caused by rising tuition prices and student debt and he offers a solution preferable to Romney’s.
According to the same New York Times article, Obama says he will work to secure Pell Grant program funding and make certain the grant amounts increase next year if re-elected. Students and families could receive up to a $10,000 tax-break during a four-year college span if a tax-credit is extended past January. Additionally, federal aid could be given as a link to a college’s success toward reducing student tuition prices as part of a proposal that may be furthered by Obama.
While Obama and Romney do agree on some issues, it is clear each has a strong belief about how the student debt crisis, loans and financial aid should be handled. As the presidential election is nearing in November, it is crucial students take a stand to vote for Obama to protect their financial interests.
-—Molly Block is a mass communication junior.