Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fighting for "the least of these"


President Obama is tackling quite a few issues right now. Add Pell Grants and financial aid for college students to his list.

The private loan industry, as we have seen in recent months, has benefited quite a bit by loaning people money and charging high interest rates...and then has been bailed out by the government for fear that the debacle the loan companies created would be in an even bigger mess if someone didn't help them out.

Fortunately for the CEOs of these companies, their paychecks weren't the ones that were hurt. "Just last week, Sallie Mae reported that despite losing $213 million in 2008, it paid its chief executive more than $4.6 million in cash and stock and its vice chairman more than $13.2 million in cash and stock, including the use of a company plane. The company, which did not receive money under the $700 billion financial system bailout and is not subject to pay restrictions, also disbursed cash bonuses of up to $600,000 to other executives."

Unfortunately, the recipients of these loans haven't received as much grace.

Students who are trying to further their education cannot afford the loans or do not qualify. Others strap themselves with debt without a concept of what that will mean for them 10 to 20 years down the line.

Some of the kids I know have had to drop out because college is unaffordable. Some have switched from 4-year to community colleges hoping to have enough money to live, as well as go to school.

As the "big dogs" hire lobbyists and proposition Congress to see things their way, I'm very happy to know that someone at the top...the very top...is adovcating for the people who don't have the time, money, and access to advocate for their needs as well.
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