Target: U.S. Department of Education
Goal: Create more transparency for predatory and confusing federal student loans
The Parent Plus student loan, backed by the federal government, is extremely predatory. While many college financial aid offices tout it as a “quick and easy” way to get more money for college, it comes with much risk involved. These risks are very seldom revealed to the applicants.
The Parent Plus loan is a form of federal financial aid that takes out a loan not only based on the student but the parent as well. Unlike other forms of loans, a Parent Plus loan does not take applicant income into account, meaning that the federal government has no idea if the applicant has the ability to pay off the loan. Knowing this well, college financial aid offices will still recommend that the parent take advantage of this loan to the tune of several thousand dollars, claiming that the student’s education is of huge importance and everything should be done to ensure that tuition can be paid.
These parents are not told that repayments options for Parent Plus loans are far less than standard federal student loans. It is estimated that 9.4 percent of these loans will be defaulted on because parents borrowed over their income level. Of course education is of vital importance in bettering oneself, but if it sinks the parents into so much massive debt that they realize halfway through the student’s education that they cannot keep borrowing in order to keep the student in school, it will have amounted to nothing.
These Parent Plus loans need to stop being so predatory. The government must disclose to these parents that their income is not taken into account when applying for these loans, and they are not the easy and carefree loans they appear to be. Lend your voice, and let the federal government know that predatory lending is never okay, no matter if it is in the public or private sector. Please sign the below petition and make a stand against this practice by the federal government and the colleges that would rather boost their enrollment than be honest and transparent.
Dear Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education for the United States,
The administration you currently serve upholds education as one of the single most important factors for making it through this tough economy and into a brighter future. That is what makes federal financial aid so important. Many families are suffering financially and need federal student loans in order to send their children to college.
However, your Parent Plus loan does more harm than good to many families. Rather than disclose the limited number of repayment options and the fact that these loans are given out regardless of income level, this loan is touted as the easy and quick loan that serves as a great option for families in need of aid. The current administration has looked down upon banks that gave out loans to families who could not afford to pay them back; what makes these loans any different?
The fact of the matter is, there is no difference. Yes, education is important, but sinking a family into massive debt with no ability to repay it does little to improve their quality of life. Please mandate that these loans come with a full disclosure that income is not checked, repayment options for these loans are limited, and almost ten percent of these loans are defaulted on. Parents and students need to be able to make informed decisions about education options, and you have the power to make that happen. Make life better for our citizens seeking to better themselves, not worse.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Cliff Weathers