Student loan firms embark on misinformation campaign

The crux of the private lenders’ misleading multi-million-dollar campaign is the claim that the bill will kill 35,000 jobs. They fail to mention that this number comes from a survey of student loan companies by an association of lenders, and counts all workers employed by loan companies, rather than expected job losses.

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If the legislation passes, lenders will still need to service the loans they have already made, and many offer other loan products or services to schools.

Several will also be getting lucrative contracts from the Department of Education to service federal direct loans, which would replace their federally subsidized loans.

Further, the bill also contains funds for school modernization and construction, grants for state programs to increase college access and completion, investments in early education programs, and support for community colleges and minority serving institutions. It would be surprising if, even taking the lenders claims at face value, there were not a net gain in jobs.

Congress should not be distracted by a lobbying and PR campaign by lenders to keep their hands in the federal cookie jar. Congress should focus instead on ensuring that their constituents have access to a quality college education at an affordable price.

Washington


Change down payment assistance program

From Ann Ashburn, president and CEO, AmeriDream Inc.

The Down Payment Assistance Program has been very effective in providing homeownership to the population that FHA was created to serve. In fact, DPA has helped over 1.8 million people become homeowners and generated over $22.1 billion in tax revenue to state and local governments. However, now it is time to reform and create a new down payment assistance program.

We need a responsibly reformed DPA program, such as H.R. 600, that includes appraisal reforms and credit score requirements that can reduce the claims rate and still promote the goal of responsible sustainable homeownership. The reforms contained within H.R. 600 will ensure that only creditworthy and homeowner-ready families become homeowners through DPA in a way that will not negatively impact the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund or cost taxpayers’ money.

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The Congressional Budget Office scored a reformed DPA program as budget-neutral. During this time of record-breaking spending, responsible DPA programs are the long-term, commonsense solution that helps bring well-qualified homebuyers into the market in a fiscally responsible manner, while generating desperately needed tax revenue for state and local governments.

Having people buy homes is extremely important to the long-term stability of our economy, not only through the direct expense of the actual home sale, but also the ripple effect of the sale of goods and use of related services, as well as taxes and fees that are generated to local governments because of house sales.

Bottom line is that the housing market is nowhere near being back on its feet and our economy will not completely recover without a healthy housing market. As a result, we need to continue to work with Congress and HUD to refine the proposed reforms in H.R. 600 to help create a new down payment assistance program that will help homeowners and will also help our economy.

Gaithersburg, Md.


The non-decider

From Serafin Quintanar

In Tuesday’s address, President Barack Obama put his inability to make any decision on display to the world. It was disgustingly obvious that he was just trying to give a little to all sides again. He will send tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan, but far fewer than what his own general had requested. He is ending the war, but not really; the withdrawal of troops will be contingent upon the conditions on the ground. In other words, he is keeping with Bush policy on withdrawal, but setting an imaginary timeline to please leftists in his camp.

Fresno, Calif.