Political parties agree student debt trajectory unsustainable

With 100 days left until graduation, many seniors have begun to come to grips with the bittersweet end to their college careers, as well as the impending student loan debt that comes with a diploma.

With the Democratic presidential candidates appealing to young voters through their ideas about tackling the overwhelming cost of college, we see an increasing emphasis on the plight of the young and educated. Senate Democrats rally and unite behind an issue many of us currently or will eventually face in our lifetimes.

Lawmakers have disclosed the Reducing Educational Debt (RED) Act, so aptly named with the #InTheRed campaign. The campaign is based on students’ finding themselves “in the red” with less than appealing credit scores simply because of their pursuit of higher level education, which currently comes at an exorbitant cost.

The campaign was quietly unveiled at President Obama’s last State of the Union Address, where multiple attendees sported the red #InTheRed button, according to the Washington Post.

This legislative package contains three bills, including enactments initially introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) in 2014 allowing borrowers to refinance federal and private student loans with a lower interest rate, which was ultimately shot down, according to the Washington Post.

It features a proposal from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) to index future Pell Grant awards to inflation so as to ensure government aid keeps up with the rising cost of college. America’s College Promise Act brought by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) states a federal match of $3 for every dollar invested by the state to waive community college tuition and fees for eligible students.

The biggest problem facing any attempt at producing a plan to curtail the skyrocketing debt is lack of bipartisanship on how to tackle the issue. However, both sides very readily agree that the trend at which the nation’s youth is finding themselves in insurmountable debt is unsustainable.

Student loan debt has now exceeded $1.2 trillion, Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) told UPI. Over a third of borrowers are finding themselves defaulting on their loans within 90 days. This is a dismal start to pursuing economic independence. Many students will be in debt before seeing a positive net worth in salary.

With both sides of the political spectrum agreeing on this as a problem, the difficulty in coming up with a solution should be the next step. However, with only the Democratic presidential candidates speaking on the topic, we don’t see much progress being made. Hopefully, the #InTheRed campaign will unite both parties in this legislation.