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IUSA joins other Big Ten student governments, critiques education bill

The IU Student Association has joined other Big Ten student governments in railing against the PROSPER Act.

The Big Ten student leaders sent a letter to Republican and Democrat leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives claiming the act will hurt current college students and cost them as much as $15 billion collectively.  

The letter was addressed to Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

The PROSPER Act, otherwise known as the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act, is a U.S. House of Representatives bill meant to simplify federal aid for students.

The proposed act tries to simplify how students pay off their loans by eliminating the federal in-school interest subsidy. This subsidy means student loans do not gain interest while they are enrolled in a college or university. However, by eliminating that subsidy, undergraduates could be placed under too much pressure.

“Students should focus on their studies, not the compounding interest on their loans,” the authors wrote. “There is simply no reason that individuals seeking to better their education should be burdened with greater interest on their loans when they have yet to reap many of the benefits of a strong education, including a steady income.”

The bill removes special projects like public service loan forgiveness, which allowed government employees to have their loans forgiven after 10 years of payments. The bill would eliminate or curtail other college affordability programs, such as the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants which provides funds to students in some of the poorest conditions.

“The PROSPER Act (H.R. 4508) has good intentions, aiming to reform, simplify, and ultimately reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA),” the petition said. “However, we believe the bill will hurt many students by making college less affordable and accessible.”

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