Want A Student Loan? Show Us Your Finances First.

But of course, because low-income students really need more hoops to jump through before they can get government assistance to get an education.  Tidewater Community College in Virginia is planning to implement a system whereby students seeking government loans for schooling will have to fill out and turn in two "budget worksheets" - one assuming their current income and financial situation "in case they leave school unexpectedly", and the other a projected budget for after graduation based on the starting salary for a job they can expect to get with the degree they're working on - before the financial aid office will disburse their federal student loans to them.

The plan itself sounds pretty fucked up, to me.  I personally don't think the college's budget office - who is not providing the loan money themselves, mind you, just taking federal money and disbursing it to students who have already applied and been approved for it - has any goddamn business seeing my budget.  Offering budget counseling or workshops for students who want it?  A good idea.  Making it mandatory to fill out worksheets and disclose the details of your finances to the loan office before they'll give you the money you've already been approved for?  Not cool.  Especially since "the college also plans to identify high-risk borrowers who are still enrolled and summon them for financial counseling."  So if your budget doesn't meet with approval, you're going to be "summoned" to talk to someone about it, whether you really want to discuss the details of your financial situation with a total stranger at your college or not.

Further, the second budget worksheet assumes the student will have a job after graduation.  Lolwut?  Unemployment is still at nearly 10% nationwide, people.  It's not like jobs are thick on the ground.  I'm not sure I like the idea of having students work up a projected budget based on a job that may or may not be there when they've anticipated having it.

But the real fun part of this is the display of privilege in the comments thread.  Right in the first few comments, someone pointed out the problematic nature of assuming immediate employment upon graduation, and the response was basically "Well, then maybe they shouldn't be taking out money to go to school."  Effectively implying that the only people who deserve an education, which is pretty much necessary at this point to get ahead, are those who can already afford to pay for it out of pocket.

And when someone else pointed out that adding more work and required disclosure like this is putting further barriers in front of those people who need the help most, the answer from a few other commenters was basically "Good!"  ...what?

Education is already a privilege in this country far more than it should be.  Low-income students are already struggling, and to put further barriers between them and the help they need is reprehensible.  It smacks of deliberately replicating and perpetuating the already-widening class divide by reserving all the bootstraps for people who own the bootstraps factory.


VijiiS said...

I'm so freaking lucky I don't have to pay for school. I made a "documentary film" (about ten minutes long) for English class about the kind of debt people get themselves into, and it's entirely unfair. And that thing about the budget? Total invasion of privacy.

I see that comment thread you're talking about: "That is my point exactly; students cannot assume that they will find a job when they graduate that will allow them to pay a loan. Thus, if it is that risky of an investment, they shouldn't take out the loan in the first place! Cash flow college. I realize that such a statement is akin to heresy in many places, but what is the alternative? Take out loans without even thinking about paying them off? Cross your fingers and just "hope it'll all work out"?" Umm... Are you actually suggesting people not go to college? 'Cause that sounds like what you're suggesting, lady. And that's STUPID. People without college educations? It's a *fact* that most of them don't live as well as people who do have a college education. And if they don't go to college and have crappy paying jobs and go on welfare, for some reason I'm fairly certain that this she's the same type of person who would go ahead and say they shouldn't get that money because it's their fault they don't have money in the first place.

Poor folks from poor families should just stay poor, amiright?!

Jadelyn said...

Basically, yeah. I think that "cash flow college" is supposed to mean "cashflow --> college" or something like that. As in, if you can't already afford college, you don't deserve it! Which, lolsob, it's another can't-win. If you're too poor to afford college, you shouldn't take out loans to afford college with. If you are un- or under-educated and thus can't get a good job, go (back) to school and get a degree so you stop needing government assistance! Basically, just magically be rich already and stop needing government assistance!

ladyneeva said...

Back in the late 90's, my husband got turned down for a college loan because his parents made too much money. He was 32 at the time, and had just moved back in with them (as a renter no less) for the first time since he moved out three days after his 18th birthday.

Which just goes to show the outrageous levels that are gone to to make college inaccessible to most everyone who isn't already wealthy in and of themselves.

Jadelyn said...

That's fucked up. Just cause he was renting from family instead of a stranger, they took the family's finances into account. Ugh.

CaitieCat said...

Yeah - and note that they're not saying no one should have student loans, only people who need them shouldn't have them. If you can pay it back with confidence, and don't need the money, then they'd be happy to give it to you.

Jadelyn said...

Like banks charging the highest fees to the lowest-balance account holders. They seem to have it ass-backward. The point is "aid", it's right there in the name, Financial Aid office. It's for helping people who need it. That's what "aid" means. >.<


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