The following editorial appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday:
Showing indifference to an entire generation, Congress took off for its summer break without addressing student loans. As a result, interest rates on new Stafford loans doubled last week, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
This is the second year in a row that Congress has failed to respond to the nation’s higher-education lending problem. Last year, members decided to put off the job of setting a reasonable student borrowing rate until this year. Supposedly to ensure that they would act, interest rates were set to double if nothing was done. Well, nothing was done — except more harm to students already struggling with a collective $1.1 trillion in debt.
The debt burden forces college graduates and dropouts alike to put off marriage, children and home purchases. And it forces many to settle for jobs that don’t match their skills just to keep up with loan payments. Given the skyrocketing cost of college, few students can afford it without taking on debt.