Opinion

Letter to the Editor

By Paul Streitz '66, Director, College Parent Association

January 30, 2014

Student Loan Justice

Hamilton College should end its student loan program immediately.  No student in the class of 2014 or any thereafter should leave with any student debt. Putting students into long term debt is not financial aid; it is simply deferring payment and putting students into the hands of the most pernicious loan program ever created.  Further, it should create a fund to pay back all outstanding loans of Hamilton alumni.

Princeton University, Yale University and Harvard  University do not consider loans as part of financial assistance. The Yale College Admissions website states, “Students are not expected to take out loans.” Yale financial aid covers 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all undergraduates.”

The Education Committees of the U.S. Congress are totally controlled by Fannie Mae through political contributions to the members. Ralph Nader said, “the corporate lawyers who conceived this self-enriching system ought to get the nation’s top prize for shameless perversity.” Unlike any other loans, the U.S. Congress removed bankruptcy protection, statutes of limitations, refinancing rights, protection against collection harassment, protection against excessive fees, collection charges of 25 percent and compound interest.

The dramatic and heart-rendering tales of students who have fallen into default can be found at www.studentloanjustice.org.  Such tales include students who have committed suicide, left the country or established new identities to avoid the relentless harassment of Sallie Mae.  With penalties, collection fees and compound interest ,students can end up owing four times the amount of their original loans.

Hamilton College has adequate funds to do the same if it would stop its profligate spending and run the college with the financial welfare of the students as its priority, rather than that of the faculty and administration.

I will be giving a talk entitled Student Loan Justice in the Graves Room of the Burke Library, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, 4:00 p.m.

Paul Streitz ’66
Director, College Parent Association

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