Point: Direct lending program a viable plan

Making good on a key campaign promise, President Barack Obama is working to make education more accessible to everyone without using a tax increase to do it.

The plan involves cutting out private banks for subsidized loan administration, which currently requires billions of taxpayer dollars each year in subsidies and a collection of the maximum interest rate allowed by Congress.

Unsubsidized loans will not be affected by the change.

Under the plan, subsidized loans will come directly from the government and be administered by the college or university where the funds are disbursed.

The president has committed to use the funds saved by the switch, an estimated $94 billion during the next 10 years, to expand the federal work/study program and lift the income bracket attached to the federal Pell grant program and increase the amount of funding available to students.

Obama told reporters on the campaign trail, “The system needs to be fixed. We shouldn’t be providing billions in taxpayer-funded giveaways to private banks. We should be providing an affordable, accessible college education to every American.”

Amen, brother.

Now, I am as skeptical as the next person of government expansion, but there are times, such as this, when it just makes sense.

There are concerns that the government is biting off more than it can chew, and there will undoubtedly be some kinks in the system as the change begins, but there is no evidence that this is not a completely viable plan. The university already works, in my experience, seamlessly to get grants and student loans in order. The process, at TCU at least, is almost completely painless for the student.

To complain about inefficiency that may or may not occur is just not a strong enough argument to halt the move.

I would encourage anyone who opposes the plan to meet with a group of bright, young high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and try to explain to them why its a good idea to hand $94 billion over to mega-banks instead of investing in their futures and, quite frankly, the future of America.

A nation is only as strong as its people, and as we find ourselves being outpaced as a society, it is in everyone’s best interest to see that more of our youth have access to higher education.

This is an opportunity to put people above partisanship and curb inefficient spending in one swoop.

We’ve handed enough taxpayer money over to banks as it is. How about taking care of our citizens instead of our corporations for a change?

Opinion editor Katie Martinez is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Fort Worth.