Trouble Thinking

August 3, 2011

Debt Ceiling Deal Eliminates Subsidized Graduate Loans

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , — Durandal @ 10:54 am

So, in case you missed it due to being a generally lazy uninterested person such as I imagine everyone who is not possessed of my singular qualities must be: The Debt Ceiling! Finally a reason to care about it directly.

I’m going into a PhD program. For those of you who weren’t aware, these programs pay about as well as babysitting your little brother. And now, good news: we’re going to solve all of America’s economic problems by making sure graduate programs are even more punishingly poverty-inducing.

So what the fuck happened?

Well, as reported by the great Minneapolis Daily:

But the federal Pell Grant program, which had expected deep cuts, was given $17 billion to maintain its level of support for college students until 2013. Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students from low-income families, and do not need to be repaid. At the University of Minnesota, 19 percent of the undergraduate student population received a Pell Grant in the 2009-10 academic year, according to a report released from the University’s Office of Institutional Research.

Oh man! That’s good, that would have sucked. I know a shitload of poor people who would basically be completely fucked seven ways to sunday if they didn’t get a decent loan rate from Pell Grants. Note: the Pell Grants were described as basically welfare by Republicans and Tea Partiers. Weirdly, they somehow got their facts wrong when it came to hating on people poorer than they are! Wooooah.

Rep Denny Rehberg (R Mont) said

“So you can go to college on Pell Grants — maybe I should not be telling anybody this because it’s turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century.”

Guess what a Pell Grant is! Go on. I know the word grant is confusing, it’s a name, and it also sounds like you mean free money. But no, a Pell Grant is actually a payment offsetting tuition for students who maintain a certain GPA and whose families make less than $35,000 a year. It can be, at maximum, $5,500 per year per student. It is in no way even remotely possible for a student to use this money. It’s just a way to make your desperate attempt to go to a non-Community College somewhat more likely. It’s almost as though people with absolutely no one in their lives who is in any way poor don’t even bother checking before they resent their lessers (via Slacktivist). In fact, it’s completely amazing how resentful the wealthy and powerful are of the destitute masses. I can only assume it’s a ploy to drum up votes from people who prefer to think of themselves as hard-working souls who would refuse all government aid if only they knew what it was.

But! Don’t worry. Pell Grants are safe, for now. All we had to do was give up graduate and professional grants! Yaaay. Again via Minneapolis Daily:

But the Pell Grant program’s reprieve came at the cost of government-subsidized loans for graduate and professional students across the nation, which will be eliminated in July 2012 to cover the cost. Those students will need to begin paying interest on their loan while still in school, or let it accumulate.

“Once again we’re seeing graduate and professional education school pitted against undergraduate education,” said Abou Amara, president of the University’s Graduate and Professional Student Assembly While Amara said that he supported the Pell Grant program, funding cuts to programs at the state and federal level and a sparse job market have created a “bleak future” for graduate students.

Now there are going to be no more subsidized loans for Graduate students after July 1st 2012. What this means is that instead of getting a 0% loan (one that, mind you, you still need to pay back), you get one that charges interest. This is a massive hit to one of the few things that made graduate studies something people could contemplate undertaking. Graduate school stipends are so low that loans are frequently necessary, and professional school tuition is so high that loans are frequently necessary. With subsidized loans, you could go a bit into debt in a calculated manner. Without subsidized loans, hello interest potentially fucking you over.  So, you know. Turns out, the solution to our economic woes has always been to make it harder for poor people to do anything of any possible benefit to society.

I mean for goodness sake. You know who came up with the idea of public education for the peasants? Napoleon. Now, I don’t know if you know Napoleon but he wasn’t known as a “nice dude”. He was the sort of guy who murdered as many people as it took for him to become Emperor of Everything. The sort of man who died when a brave hero hit his flashing weak points in the proper order. And let me tell you, he may have been Emperor of France, but he couldn’t stand the French. He was a Corsican, through and through. If he’d been able to rename the country “Haha bet you fuckers didn’t expect a Corsican to take over did you? BAM” he would have.

But because he came from humble beginnings, he understood that it was beneficial for the state to elevate the least citizen because who knows which will eventually show the same totally sweet merit he did? Education that is cheap and available to all isn’t somehow wussy. It’s a cold calculation made by a man who knew how to use the resources at hand to crush his enemies.

Giving up on education to lower the deficit is an insane method of trying to fix the country. Fewer professionals, weaker science education, more crushing debt for those few hopefuls still bothering: fast track to success for everyone! Can’t wait to see how much this screws me over.

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