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Stafford Loans

by anonymous

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To Whom It May Concern:

	Hello, my name is Bryan Lew. Currently I’m a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering student at the California State Polytechnic University of Pomona with a bare minimum of at least 2 more academic yeas ahead of me, due to the current problems that plague our educational system. Today I’m writing to state my opinions on the current issue involving the potential increase in student loan rates of the current Subsidized Stafford Loans. Myself as well as roughly 7 million other students depend on these loans to be able to attend the Universities we chose to attend. From my understanding, the current House of Representatives is set to take a vote on Friday, April 27th, where they decide to increase the interest rate to 6.8% from the initial 3.4% rate that I’m currently paying. 
         The day I decided which college to attend is still a memorable one for myself. It was between two colleges, California State University of Northridge (CSUN), or California Polytechnic State University of Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). These two colleges were the only colleges I applied too as they were the backups to my backups, I knew that I would almost have a guarantee of getting into these Universities. When I got my acceptance letters to both merely a few short weeks after I sent out my applications, I chose to attend Cal Poly Pomona. 
          One might wonder why I only sent out two applications out of all the Universities I could’ve sent them to. That decision came from the realization that money in my family was tight, and I didn’t want to spend the extra money to send out multiple applications to schools that I was unsure of whether I’d be accepted. Even in high school I was constantly worried about money, I grew up in a home where a single parent (my mother) had to support three children.  Money was always tight, but my mom always made it work and consistently always put her children before herself. Knowing all of this and living in the situation I had been dealt, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that money was definitely a deciding factor in my decision to choose which University I was going to attend after I graduated high school in June 2009. 
          All that being said, Cal Poly Pomona was easily the more affordable University to attend. Tuition was relatively lower than other Cal State and University of California colleges, and they had a strong Engineering program at Cal Poly Pomona. My decision was all but made, and then the wonder of what college I could’ve attended if only I had more money, or all Universities tuition costs were lowered. This sad realization that I was deciding what University I was to attend based off of how cheap my education would cost me was very disheartening.  Not a very good start to the “college experience” that all high school seniors dream to have. 

          Once I got accepted, the next step to becoming a college student was loans. I had no idea how to even go about receiving loans, luckily FAFSA made it rather easy to at least apply to receive loans and grants. I did all the necessary steps, or I guess I should say my mother did as she filled out all the paperwork for me, as I was clueless trying to figure out what I was doing on the FAFSA website. My application was approved and September of 2009 I was officially a student at Cal Poly Pomona. All thanks to the loans I had received, both the subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Pell Grants I received. 

          Today, after almost 3 years of being enrolled I’m already $18,052.96 in debt. Which might seem like a small amount compared to other students attending private Universities (such as LMU, USC, UCLA, etc.), but it’s the sheer fact that students want an education, but some are being forced away from education because of a lack of money. Even at this point in my life, with the job market and the economy the way it is, I as well as many other students I know and converse with are afraid of what we’re to do when we graduate. Some students are merely enrolled in school because they can’t find a job in the current job market, and are waiting for the “economic storm” to blow over. 
         What’s a student to think when classes are being cut, professors are being laid off, and tuition costs are only rising. As a student, I’m starting to think that a college education doesn’t have as much worth as we’ve been told. It’s starting to seem that college is just some elaborate scheme to rob the younger generations of time they could be spent receiving an income; instead college is only making our debt totals increase. Motivation for many students has shifted away from just schoolwork and passing classes, to trying to find a low-paying minimum wage job just so we can even stay in college. From my moral crystal ball, it’s telling me that this isn’t what college should be. 

          By raising interest rates, what good is it doing to students, and what example are the older generations sending to my generation. My generation has continually been told that “We are the change”, which I took to mean that the younger generations are the ones who will be the ones to fix the problems that mankind has been causing for millions of years. Now I see that that whole motto of “We are the change” is meaning that my generations is literally the change, when I say change I mean it in the loose change in my pocket after I just bought a slurpee on a Friday afternoon with a $10 bill kind of change. My generation is the one that's going to be paying for these decisions, yet our opinions seem to have no validity. Instead of trying to find a better solution to this interest rate increase, let’s just pawn it off on the younger generations that don’t have enough say to change our minds. This is the basic message that I feel is being sent to every college student who wants to speak out about this, but doesn’t. Well, now I’m standing up and using my voice to explain what’s wrong with this loan rate increase. 

          I already have a low paying job working on campus, I already receive grants, I already receive loans, I already have a debt total greater than any amount of money I’ve ever had, and now I’m going to have to deal with paying more for my education on top of all those things I’m already forced to do. This increased loan rate is going to do nothing but de-motivate students all over, and force us to take less time from academics, and put a bigger focus on funding our oh so expensive education. 
                                                                                           -A disgruntled and concerned student.