Letter: Democrats care about students

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor:

In early 2006, Congressional Republicans in Washington cut millions of dollars from the federal budget that would help students across the nation, and most importantly here at SIU Carbondale, afford college. There are thousands of students on this campus receiving some sort of financial aid from the government. For years, the federal and state governments have made sure that scholarships and financial aid options were available for students who normally wouldn’t be able to afford college. But Bush and the Republican’s federal budget this year helped put a stop to that.

The budget proposed by the Republicans for FY 2006 involves massive cuts for education. There are over a half billion dollars of cuts, proposed by the Republicans in Congress and the President, for higher education, even with rising college costs. Republicans refused to increase funding for Pell Grants in the new budget, and they have raised rates on student loans, costing students billions in additional dollars. The Republicans have left students high and dry when it comes to paying for college.

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On the other hand, Democrats have proposed several plans that can help students pay for college. Democrats have issued plans to cut college loan interest rates in half to 3.4 percent, whereas Republicans in Congress recently passed a measure that makes students pay rates closer to 7 percent.

This new plan proposed by Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, will hopefully cut these costs for students. This bill is called the Reverse the Raid on Student Aid of 2006, and Democratic legislators hope that it can save students around $5,000 a year. Senator Durbin was quoted as saying that “New interest rates on student loans could make the ticket price of a higher education unaffordable and cost students the opportunity to get a college education.”

The bottom line is that Democrats want to make education affordable for all students and all Americans, whereas Republicans want to keep college only for the extremely wealthy, which is not part of the American Dream the last time I checked.

Dylan Burns vice president of College Democrats sophomore studying political science and history

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