We must begin to recruit the best and the brightest students to in-demand fields right out of high school, rather than have them rack up debt as they figure out their career path in college. Better career guidance and planning, coupled with access to Advance Placement classes and Dual Enrollment programs, can help high school students get a head start on their college careers and credits while avoiding college costs.
Finally, private lenders need to be reined in. This is a big business that preys on students through unscrupulous practices, rigid terms, and traps hidden in the fine print. Many private lenders outright refuse to renegotiate payment terms, and there is no shortage of horror stories from students who were driven to default. We need to better educate students on the dangers of private loans while cracking down on the lenders’ underhanded practices.
My personal experience with student debt has made me an advocate on this issue. It has also forced me to be financially disciplined almost to a fault, and to live well within my means to provide for my family. As I look at my pregnant wife and think about the life of my new daughter, I often wonder, “How she will afford higher education?â€ It is time for colleges and universities to think about our future, and for states to take the lead.Â Together, we can reshape higher education to roll back the debilitating student debt that cripples our families, and restore the promise of a brighter future for all.
–written by Anthony Daniels
Anthony Daniels represents Alabama’s 53rd Legislative District in the State House of Representatives. A former Chairman of the National Education Association Student Program, he holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from Alabama A&M University. Rep. Daniels resides in Huntsville with his wife.