Tonawanda News

Opinion

August 23, 2013

OUR VIEW: College spending reform needed

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Given this reality, tying college evaluations to federal funding as the president seeks is a risky proposition. We would much prefer to treat the evaluations as a useful advisory tool for students. 

A second proposal, one that’s already on the books but rarely used, is capping a graduate’s student loan payment to 10 percent of their income. That sounds like a reasonable idea but it could be tweaked.

What many graduates would say is they need help immediately with student loan payments. Extending the grace period for starting repayment from six months after graduation to 12 would be an excellent start. Given the persistently high unemployment rate among young people an extra six months to find a job and establish yourself as an economically independent adult would make a huge difference.

And we would add that the cap should be more flexible. Including a sunset provision of seven to 10 years or gradually increasing the cap offers students an incentive to pay off their loans quicker rather than wait when they could afford to pay more sooner. Offering graduates a lifetime cap on their maximum payment sets the bar too low and would in many instances needlessly extend the life of the loan leading to more interest paid over time.

Policy differences aside, we salute the president for addressing the topic and hope lawmakers in Washington take heed — higher education reform is both critical and necessary.

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