Chris McCoy on Friday, Jul. 22nd
Don’t think this whole debt ceiling debate makes any difference to you? Think again.
Government-subsidized student loans could be at risk of being cut from the federal budget. In discussions with the White House, House Majority Leader Republican Eric Cantor proposed terminating the Stafford subsidized loan program, which provides financial assistance to college students. Rep. Cantor also wants to force students to pay the interest on their loans before graduating college, in order to save an estimated $40 billion over 10 years, as Campus Progress reports.
In efforts to avoid increasing taxes to make the country solvent, Republican lawmakers are coming up with all kinds of cost-cutting prescriptions. So far, there are three compromises on the table. The McConnell-Reid Outline, the “Cut, Cap and Balance” Bill, and the new, bipartisan Gang of Six plan. The Cut, Cap and Balance Bill, a generic version of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget resolution, would cut spending $111 billion for the 2012 fiscal year and cap spending for the future. John Hadlock, legislative staffer of House Republican Rep. John Chaffetz of Utah who sponsored the Cut, Cap and Balance Bill, confirmed that while there is nothing in writing, student loans have come up in ongoing budget discussions. Since being passed by a 234-190 majority in the House, the bill has been tabled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
If further legislative gridlock occurs and a deal is not made by August 2, the federal government may default on its payments, according to the Treasury Department.
College students shouldn’t assume they are immune from the proposed cuts. In the short and long-term, they could bear a substantial economic burden as a result of the country’s fiscal crisis.