Kenyer Malcolm Millennium High School75 Broad StreetNew York, NY 10004 [email protected] 16, 2018The Honorable Congressman Hakeem JeffriesWashington, DC Office 1607 Longworth House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 https://jeffries.house.gov/contact/offices445 Neptune Ave #2C, Brooklyn, NY 11224Dear Congressman Jeffries;My name is Kenyer Malcolm and I reside at 1024 East 53rd St. Brooklyn, New York 11234. I am currently a twelfth-grade student at Millennium High School in Lower Manhattan. In order to raise awareness about this issue, I am writing to you in order to influence the creation of a preliminary solution that reverses the effects of the student loan debt crisis. My recommendation for absolving this crisis is by editing public policies that already exist and increasing job wages or employment. As a student who is planning on attending college this fall, the data that showcases the amount of statistical data that the average student loans of graduates concern me. Even so, the cost of tuition and dorm fees of universities is worrisome. When I converse with those college experiences, they say that student loans are the driving force of their financial problems. From dormitory costs for tuition, they are struggling with college debt. Because of the other’s stories, the uncertainty of my financial circumstances along with limited experience in financing, I have altered my post-secondary plans. As someone who has attended college, you can understand the large number of expenses that students face. I am calling for an action that would lessen student loan debt.Financial aid allows students who are in need of financial support to attend a post-secondary institution. The money that is students receive could come in forms of loans, scholarships, grants, federal aid, institutional aid, private aid, and work-study. But, some of the aid that is given to students has to be paid off. In “How We Can Solve the Student Loan Debt Crisis,” a journal article written by Dana Edwards, it is stated that federal college aid began in 1944 with the GI Bill, which distributed benefits to European and Pacific veterans to attend vocational school. Then further debriefs that the federal government encouraged college degrees as a result of the Space Race and produced the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958. Sequentially, the federal government, in terms of occupation, The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 was not restricted. In addition, the HEA “had students take out loans from private lenders, loans the government would guarantee,” making students default on their loans since they could not afford it. Due to colleges accessibility with loans, there was an increase of students who were academically challenged. For student loan debt to be diminished, the federal government allowed students to file for bankruptcy and limited “the amount of revenue a higher education institution could take from federal aid .” In effect, filing for bankruptcy affected the credit score of students who did it and colleges. Since colleges were funded less, there was an increase in tuition for higher education. Despite the costs of attending college, the condition of our economy pressures people to obtain a “college degree to be viewed as employable.” According to Catherine Rampell for New York Times, this is an occurrence of “degree inflation,” in the late 1970s, being a college graduate boosted the median wage by 40 % compared to people with “more than a high school degree,” but now “the wage premium is about 80%.” Another issue that student borrowers encounter is interest rates on their loans. The accumulation of interest on loans elongates the process of repaying them in a short timeframe. This is sometimes resolved by direct subsidized loans, a financial assistance option that includes the government paying off the interest on your loans. But, direct subsidized loans cannot be given to those who are not low-income and graduate students. The best solutions for this issue are: to alter and renew components in public policies, lower tuition costs while raising funds for higher education institutions (especially public universities), reconstruct the current repayment plans based on income, and higher job wages. Firstly, after a fluctuation of yearly earnings, a person would have to complete a new application to match their monthly payments by income. So, for repayment plans, a borrower who has defaulted on their loans should be automatically placed on an income-based repayment plan or repayment plans should be categorized as universal. Lessening payments per month for ex-students and current students would minimize the occurrence of defaulting on loans while allowing a flexible financial method. The reason why this idea is essential because 34 percent of college goers who did not finish school defaulted on their loans and are not able to repay their loan. Even though they borrow less than $5,000, Susan Dynarski at Brookings.edu says that these borrowers are unable to repay it since they never obtained a degree, thus leaving them unemployed. In addition, students living paycheck to paycheck, do not have consistent wages that are liveable. Consequently, increasing wages nationally would allow for those with limited college experiences to have a steady income in order to repay their student loans, and would assist the 40% of Americans who are unemployed Millennials. Moreover, Dana Edwards discusses statistical data about Millennials’ student debt and wrote that the average of $35,000 in student loans so having an increase in employment for that demographic would lower the debt that have to repay. Lastly, the reconstruction of the income-based repayment method should resolve the fact that the payments made monthly do not cover the monthly interest, which leads to an increase of the balance that is owed even if the payments are made on time. Some may say that the student loan debt crisis should be terminated by ending federal loans or by only having free tuition, but these actions would either intensify or do nothing about this issue. If federal loans are not distributed to students, then low-income students won’t be able to attend or afford college due to no Pell Grants. A quote from Jordan Weissmann, a writer for Time, said that students with low-income use Pell Grants to cover “less than two-thirds the cost of attending a community college and about one-third the cost of a bachelor’s program.” As a result, more dropout rates will occur if students are not able to pay their tuition per semester. Also, using free-tuition to help with this crisis would not provide a direct fix to the problem. According to the article “America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia,” written by Susan Dynarski in The New York Times, there is a false equivalence that there is “no one-to-one” correlation between free-tuition and student loan debt. Aforementioned, defaults on loans are common amongst individuals who did not complete college and have smaller loan balances. Though there is no tuition in places that have no student debt crisis, “70 percent of Swedish students borrow for college” because student loans are “spread out over 25 years,”compared to the United States which is 10 years. To prevent difficulties for loan borrowers with paying off their debt, revising former financial aid policies, bills, and income-based repayment programs would resolve this issue. Thank you for reading my perspective on this subject matter. No student from an unfortunate economic background should view college as a punishment for self-development or a brighter future. I have reviewed the issues that you rightfully support, so I have faith that you will take my ideas into consideration. With your help, students who attend college in America could be able to go to the college of their dreams without any limitations. I would like to see that there is a possible eradication of loan debt that college graduates are burdened with. Works CitedDynarski , Susan. “America Can Fix Its Student Loan Crisis. Just Ask Australia.”The New York Times, New York Times, 9 July 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/07/10/upshot/america-can-fix-its-student-loan-crisis-just-ask-australia.html.Edwards, Dana. “How We Can Solve the Student Loan Debt Crisis.”How We Can Solve the Student Loan Debt Crisis, 2016, pp. 79–90., www.jamesmadison.org/library/doclib/Journal-Winter-2016-How-We-Can-Solve-the-Student-Loan-Debt-Crisis1.pdf.McGrath, Maggie. “The Best Way To Fix The Student Debt Crisis (And It’s Not Free Tuition).”Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 12 Jan. 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/maggiemcgrath/2016/01/07/the-best-way-to-fix-the-student-debt-crisis-and-its-not-free-tuition/#5fb215a637dd.Mulhere, Kaitlin . “Income-Based Repayment for Student Loans: Pros and Cons | Money.”Time, Time, 2 Nov. 2016, time.com/money/4551498/income-driven-repayment-pros-cons/.Rampell, Catherine. “Degree Inflation? Jobs That Newly Require B.A.’s.”The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Dec. 2012, economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/degree-inflation-jobs-that-newly-require-b-a-s/.Weissmann, Jordan. “3 Reasons Why Ending Federal Student Loans Is a Terrible Idea.”The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 19 June 2012, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/06/3-reasons-why-ending-federal-student-loans-is-a-terrible-idea/258650/.