BUFFALO, N.Y. – On Thursday, President Obama revealed his new plan to begin curbing the soaring costs of higher education in America. Many recent college graduates—who own an average $26,600 in student-loan debt—watched the president’s speech, during which he called for federal aid money to be tied to graduation rates, and are hoping that his plan includes the option to repay their massive loans with the president’s empty, impotent words.
Brad Temper, Rutgers class of ’10, said that while he does not have nearly enough money to repay his student loans, he now owns an “abundance of hollow promises” given to him by President Obama. “You think Sallie Mae (one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers) will let me pay them with some of Obama’s futile words?” Temper wondered. “There’s certainly plenty of those to go around.”
Erica Black, in her junior year at Northwestern University, shares the same hope. “I didn’t hear the president specifically say that his plan will allow us to repay our debt with his useless ideas that will inevitably be forgotten or blocked in the constipated-colon that is Capitol Hill,” Black said, “but I believe Obama’s a smart man, and he must know that that’s the only way he can possibly help us.”
Young people like Temper and Black have reason to be concerned about repaying their loans with traditional money. Average college tuition has increased almost 500% since 1986, far outpacing the growth of inflation and income, and economists predict that by 2015 it will cost an average student $120,000 to attain a four-year degree from a state-run college or university. But while loan default rates are rising, many students believe their best way out is to use President Obama’s many naïve promises as legal tender to pay off their debt.
“Sure, his ideas are nice,” said Cary Joiner, a graduate student at The University of Alabama. “But they would require legislation to be implemented—and between college lobbyists, the laziest congress in American history, and Obama’s record of losing interest, we all know nothing’s going to change.”
“Unless we start using Obama’s doomed policy initiatives as currency,” Joiner said. “If that happens, I foresee a bright future for American higher education.”