Loan reforms protect students

Daily Editorial Board

The U.S. Department of Education has recommended a set of new guidelines intended to protect student borrowers, the Minnesota Daily reported last week. These guidelines would hold schools responsible for fraudulent acts and create a consolidated, income-driven repayment plan for students who take out federal loans. 
Although the guidelines are not an official administrative policy, they are a step in the right direction when it comes to addressing the issue of student debt. The guidelines complement President Barack Obama’s Student Aid Bill of Rights. Published in March, this document led officials to begin work on a federal complaint system through which borrowers can voice their grievances. The bill of rights also led to the implementation of procedures intended to help students repay their loans. 
Nationwide, outstanding student loan debt is valued at approximately $1.2 trillion. Here at the University of Minnesota, the median undergraduate leaves school with $21,500 in debt. 
Those numbers have serious implications for the economic future of the United States. Student debt severely hinders graduates’ abilities to invest in a home, purchase nonessential items and move upward in the job market. Consequently, from a national perspective, student loan debt represents a real economic threat, not merely a moral concern. 
With this in mind, it is out of national as much as personal interest that we support the Department of Education’s new guidelines, and we hope to see further action to protect student borrowers in the future.