Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Budget alterations would harm students

Malcolm X once said, "Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." It is very unfortunate that our current Legislature apparently disagrees with the words of this great thinker. As students around Wisconsin head back for another year of higher education at one the 26 University of Wisconsin colleges and universities, Congress will be voting on one of the most detrimental pieces of federal legislation to face students in a very long time.

This pertinent proposal is called Budget Reconciliation. If Congress buys this pitch, it will cut at least $9 billion from student loan programs. Budget Reconciliation is a special process used by Congress to cut and change entitlement programs such as Medicaid, pensions and student loans. The attempt by Congress to use this process to gut federal loan programs will be devastating for students both today and in years to come.

The proposed cuts of $9 billion will have dramatic affects on the average student borrowers and place a damaging blockade in the path to higher education! For instance, a student that has borrowed $20,000 in student loans could have to pay upwards of an additional $6,000 if the Budget Reconciliation bill is approved. If Congress opts to approve this legislation, it will burden the lives of thousands of young adults not only across Wisconsin but also across the United States.

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Increasing the financial burden that students have to carry will alter the future of our country's economy for years. According to "The Myth of College Access in America," 39 percent of students graduate with unmanageable loan debt. As the cost of taking out a student loan increases, this percentage will undoubtedly increase as well. This will unquestionably lead to a significant increase in the time it takes for a recent college graduate to begin fully participating in the economy.

It will force college graduates out of being able to take jobs in the public sector, not to mention limit the amount of people who can take out mortgages to buy homes or properly invest in their retirement. Clearly, this will have an adverse affect not only on the personal lives of students, but also the strength of the economy as a whole.

Instead of stamping the passport to the future of UW students, Congress will attempt to put a halt on the future of Wisconsin and the nation. If Congress passes these student loan program cuts, it will be economically counterproductive and more students will be denied access to higher education. It is time for Congress to look to the future and vote down Budget Reconciliation.

Jennifer Hansen is a junior majoring in political science and history.

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