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/ March 22, 2012
Bummed About Your Student Loans? Help Might Be On The Way

While NYU offers its students incredible opportunities and experiences, the cost of attending the school is sometimes the difference between sadly confronting your 6th slice of 2 Bros for the week and eating like a real human being – with forks and vegetables and other 1%er wonders.

Fortunately for us, there may yet still be hope of not paying for our crappy arts degrees when we’re 60.

Student debt is projected to reach $1 trillion in 2012, officially exceeding the national credit card debt – such are the findings of H.R.4170, or the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012. Proposed by Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI), the bill seeks to ease the absurd burdens of excessively high tuition costs placed on U.S. students – costs that Clarke believes are “impeding economic growth” and stifling entrepreneurship.

True to its name, the bill attempts to extend debt forgiveness to graduates who make loan payments of at least 10% of their adjusted gross income for 10 years – that’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask us, considering NYU’s penchant for pricey education. The legislation comes at a time when tuition rates have soared nation-wide and grant funding has almost completely stagnated in the wake of a still-crippled economy, and students are placed in the awkward position of accruing massive amounts of debt in order to get a job-getting degree.

Some of the finer print of the bill shows that students heading into the public sector are eligible for even further debt reductions, debts can become void upon bankruptcy, and the maximum amount of debt that can be waived is around $42,000 – a full year at NYU for some undergraduates.

The bill sounds too good to be true, and in all likelihood it probably is – the chances of it passing a Republican-controlled Congress are slim at best, especially when Senator Paul Ryan’s recent plan to slash over $5.3 trillion in safety-net spending was received magnanimously by Republican leadership.

However awareness of the issue of student debt is spreading rapidly, and Democrats are pushing for a Senate version of the bill, Fairness For Struggling Students Act (S.1102). The average cost of higher education in the U.S. far exceeds those of the rest of the world, and has lead to a climate that discourages entrepreneurship and risk-taking from educated graduates. “Higher education should be viewed as a public good benefitting our country,” writes Clarke, “Rather than as a commodity solely benefiting individual students.”

No arguments there, Representative. No arguments there.

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