Congress Seeks to Fix Our Broken Higher Education System

Today, college students are saddled with more student loan debt than ever before in American history. The average student loan debt for 2017 graduates was over $39,000, which is a six percent uptick from 2016. Students owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. According to the website, StudentLoanHero.com, student loan debt now runs $620 billion higher than total national credit card debt.

In addition, the site reports that 44.2 million Americans now carry student loan debt; 11.2 percent of borrowers are more than 90 days delinquent or in default on their repayment; and the average monthly student loan payment (for borrowers aged 20 to 30 years) is $351.

Such burdensome debt not only harms individual graduates and their families, but also the economy as a whole, because these debt-laden graduates often have to decline or delay buying homes and starting families. As far back as 2011, a New York Times piece labeled student-loan debt the “anti-dowry.” Since then, as the above statistics demonstrate, life for college loan borrowers has grown only more beleaguered.

What can be done to address this crisis? In the U.S. House of Representatives, Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced H.R. 4508, “Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act” The PROSPER Act seeks to reform our outmoded system by which colleges and universities attain accreditation, and on which their receipt of Title IV federal funds depends.

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