The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The grind: Student-loan reform good for students

Perhaps shrouded by the landmark health-care legislation passed by the House of Representatives Sunday was a less glamorous bill day of reforming student loan practices.

The bill would help save the ailing Pell grant funds and cut banks out as the middlemen between students and their loans. This legislation is really a victory for any student who has ever received a tuition bill in their mailbox.

The Washington Post reports that the legislation eliminates a $60 billion private-lending program and replaces it with government-funded loans. The savings comes because the federal government has traditionally subsidized part of the loans that private banks offer to students.

More than half of the $60 billion savings would fund Pell grants, which used to cover two-thirds of education and now only cover about one-third, according to the Post.

For transparency’s sake, I should mention that I will graduate this spring without student loans. As of now, I don’t know the pressures and anxiety of graduating from college with a mountain of debt. But I know many who do. College is getting more and more expensive, both on this campus and elsewhere.

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It’s getting harder to pay for tuition. A UW-Eau Claire student I interviewed last semester said that even without the Blugold Commitment increase to tuition, she wasn’t sure she would have enough money to pay for college next year.

In an increasingly unstable job market, it’s even more worrisome to scrape together tuition and fees without much certainty that it will pay off in the long run.

According to the report, more than six million students rely on Pell grants every year. In the U.S., no one should have to cite affordability as a reason why he or she cannot get a college education. And if the past year and a half has been any lesson on how responsible the banking system is, then this should be a reminder to let the federal government help students achieve a successful and affordable education.

About a quarter of students at UW-Eau Claire receive Pell grants, said Kathy Sahlhoff, director of financial aid.

Sahloff said financial aid for students on this campus won’t change much as a result of the new legistlation. But for students across the country that rely on Pell Grants and financial aid, this legislation will lessen the financial burden that college places on so many students.

What a thought: that the wealthiest, most advanced country on earth would, in one day, finally give its citizens affordable education and health care. It’s about time.

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The grind: Student-loan reform good for students