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Student loan ‘solution’ is not good enough

Julianne Malveaux | 7/31/2013, 10:31 a.m.
The United States Senate finally stepped up to ensure that student loan rates would not double. There have been weeks ...

Many students with a talent for organizing, human resource allocation, or classroom teaching are diverted from their goals because their first priority is to pay student loan debt. We are starving our civil society institutions, and those who would serve them, by placing money over affinity and creativity. This has been happening for decades, but the current student loan dustup reminds us that we have not provided the safe space for our young people that we should.

The Senate bill passed 80-18 with some Democrats rejecting it because of its flaws. Others, like the progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., elected as a financial whiz and people’s advocate, chose to go with the one-year “okey-doke” rather than dig her heels in for the long run fight.

In some ways, Warren is right. The finger in the dike approach saves students this year, and so it is better than nothing. When, though, is better than nothing simply not good enough. Stay tuned. The vote on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will happen next year. Are students waiting and watching? What about parents? Is there a political lobby to turn this mess around?

Julianne Malveaux is a Washington, D.C.-based economist and writer. She is president emerita of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.q