By Brandon Hall
(Email Him At WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com)
I was immensely disturbed by a story I recently heard on the Dave Ramsey Show regarding the federal government breaking its promise to nearly half a million Americans who agreed to work public service jobs (for 10 YEARS!) in exchange for student loan forgiveness...
Ramsey started by quoting this New York Times article:
"More than 550,000 people have signed up for a federal program that promises to repay their remaining student loans after they work 10 years in a public service job.
But now, some of those workers are left to wonder if the government will hold up its end of the bargain — or leave them stuck with thousands of dollars in debt that they thought would be eliminated.
In a legal filing submitted last week, the Education Department suggested that borrowers could not rely on the program’s administrator to say accurately whether they qualify for debt forgiveness. The thousands of approval letters that have been sent by the administrator, FedLoan Servicing, are not binding and can be rescinded at any time, the agency said.
The filing adds to questions and concerns about the program just as the first potential beneficiaries reach the end of their 10-year commitment — and the clocks start ticking on the remainder of their debts."
Ramsey subsequently hit the nail on his head in his analysis of the situation:
"Only the federal government could be this incompetent," Ramsey said.
"Congress, if you guys don't put your little hands together... and pass a law to smack your Education Department in the mouth...and say, the administrator you hired-you have to stand behind what they said-that's just basic integrity...I can't believe this makes the New York Times and Congress doesn't already have a bill on the floor.... this is something Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on, that the federal government shouldn't lie to someone for freaking 10 years and then go, 'haha just kidding! You still owe them money, gotya! You get to start again, welcome to the student loan lottery!'
"If the administrator hired by the Federal Governemnt says you're out of student loan debt after 10 years, you should be out. It was a stupid plan to begin with and you shouldn't have been in the stupid plan... but if you're stupid enough to get in the stupid plan... the idiots at the federal government-there's a lot of stupid in this whole thing right here- they should be made to abide by the ruling of their administrator."
This is absolutely unacceptable.
It wasn't right when Gov. Granholm yanked the "Michigan Promise" scholarship from thousands of Michigan students in the middle of the 2009/2010 school year, and it's not right now with these student loans.
West Michigan has 2 very prominent residents who are well positioned to do something about this, Congressman Bill Huizenga, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Anyone in the Congressional delegation would do though, perhaps freshman Rep. Paul Mitchell? Rep. Amash?
It's time to act-hopefully someone will step up to the plate.
Watch the segment below:
Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at WestMIPolitics@Gmail.com