As President Obama’s term comes to a close, he’s making lots of decisions that will leave his legacy on a high note. One such decision occurred in late November when he announced his plan to expand the student loan repayment program.
According to Quartz, this program is in place to aid former college students whose debt collectively amounts to a whopping $1.26 trillion. The Obama administration created income-driven repayment plans, and the number of individuals enrolled in the program has nearly tripled in the last three years.
Due to this discrepancy, the government has essentially been forced to spend more. For once, former students across the country that are drowning in debt have an excuse to smile. The Government Accountability Office released a detailed report that forgives $108 billion in debt for those who’ve joined the repayment plan.
Although this is good news for some, we still have a long ways to go in terms of rectifying the student debt crisis. Toss our new president-elect Donald Trump into the mix and things look a lot grimmer.
Trump, who founded a for-profit university, doesn’t seem like the kind of person that would keep a relief program like Obama’s.
Aside from that ominous red flag, the Editorial Board has mixed feelings for Trump’s stance on educational policies. Specifically, many are weary that his threatening attitude towards immigration will block international students across the globe from attending college.
Not only will this impact the diversity on campus that we warmly regard, it will significantly lower the money that universities have to subsidize tuition. Trump will effectively be able to empty the coffers of colleges across the nation with one fell swoop.
What does this mean for us? College is ridiculously expensive. Our population of international students helps local students pay less.
2016’s incoming freshman class is composed of 8.57 percent international students, and there are more than 125 countries represented in IU’s student body.
In our classes, individuals from different backgrounds surround us, which is something the Editorial Board both enjoys and values. Unfortunately, Trump’s plan to tighten immigration standards inherently threatens cross-cultural experience.
That being said, we do question the immediacy of this threat. While we recognize that many prospective international students may be turned away from an American education because of our political climate, we find it hard to believe that Trump’s plans will immediately impact IU’s diversity.
Not only that, but if Trump really were to bar these students from learning in our country, he would lose an awful lot of international business — both for our country and for his own selfish interests.
As the IU Office of Admissions states, “IU celebrates and seeks diversity in all its forms: ethnicity, ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, race, religious beliefs, place of origin, political persuasion, values — the list goes on. Because little separates us, and there’s a lot we can learn from each other.”
IU prides itself on being unique, and our conglomeration of cultures makes us who we are: Hoosiers.