Republicans Continue Fight Against College Students

Roundly rejected by American voters on November 7, Congressional Republicans appear intent on maintaining their close ties with some of the few segments of our society that remain allied to them. As Janet Hook reports in the Los Angeles Times, one such group is the lending industry -- and those lending to college students at unnecessarily high rates, in particular.

Lenders are facing new political exposure because for years they have invested much more heavily in building relationships with Republicans than they did with Democrats:

*  Almost 80% of the money given to House education committee members by advocates for the student loan industry and for-profit colleges went to Republicans in the 2003-04 campaign cycle, according to an analysis by the Chronicle of Higher Education. More than half of the money went to two Republicans: then-Chairman John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), chairman of the higher-education subcommittee.

*  In the 2005-06 election cycle, the largest single corporate source of donations to the National Republican Congressional Committee was a student loan company, Nelnet, whose employees and political action committee gave $153,000. Of Nelnet's PAC contributions, 71% went to GOP candidates and 29% to Democrats, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors fundraising.

*  Employees of Sallie Mae, a company that finances student loans, gave more than any other entity to Boehner's political action committee, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics early this year. The center calculates that during the 2005-06 election cycle, 62% of Sallie Mae's PAC contributions went to Republican candidates, 38% to Democrats.

Judging by the Hooks article, it seems that the Republicans will continue to go to bat for the lending industry during the 110th Congress, perhaps even obstructing legislation to bring down the price of college by lowering interest rates on loans for college education. But Republicans have not only gone to the mat for these lenders -- who, as Hooks notes, are heavily subsidized by the federal government but "take little risk" because the "federal government also guarantees student loans against default." They have also actively fought against college students in the past. As I have noted before, the Bush administration and the Republican Congress raised taxes on teenagers saving money for college to the tune of $2.2 billion earlier this year. They also made significant cuts programs that make college more accessible to those who otherwise would not be able to afford it, most notably slashing Pell grants, both in their number and the amount of resources they provide to individual students.

With actions like these directly fighting against the interests of younger Americans, it's not an overstatement to say that the Republicans run the risk of losing that age cohort forever. Taking a look at the exit polling from earlier this month, younger voters (those under the age of 30) voted Democratic at a higher rate than any other age group, backing the Democrats over the Republicans by a 60 percent to 38 percent margin. If that number holds -- and, again, there's reason to believe it might -- Republicans are going to have a heck of a time dealing with this generation, which doesn't trust and will not vote for the GOP, over the next several decades.

Tags: College, Republicans (all tags)



Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

Didn't Vietnam cause a similar number of young voters to vote democratic in 1968 and 1972?  Didn't these young voters become a large part of the Republican hegenomy of the 80s and 90s?

by Valatan 2006-11-27 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

The Democrats should deal with this issue immediately after taking control in January, right as college students and their parents are figuring out how to pay for the spring semester.

by Max Friedman 2006-11-27 08:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

I've followed the Republican belligerence (or rather, malacious indifference) towards college students like me for a while.

It is ridiculous for them to say they've been raising interest rates to save 2.2 billion in Federal money when they've spent upwards of 400 billion on Iraq and billions upon billions more on worthless pork projects. Republicans spend money to stay in the good graces of their corporate friends in order to stay in power.

Oh and in regards to this statement:

Of Nelnet's PAC contributions, 71% went to GOP candidates and <b?29% to Democrats</b>, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which monitors fundraising.

Who were the Democrats this PAC funded and why were they funded? Now that we're in the majority, we need to hold elected Democrats seriously accountable.

by College Progressive 2006-11-27 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

You can check out the list here. I'm out the door so I don't have time to post a full listing, but feel free to if you're interested.

by Jonathan Singer 2006-11-27 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

Clyburn, the two Nelsons(Neb. & FL.) Evan Bayh and Patty Murray stand out.  And Bayh wants to be President while hoosing young people?  He sure fell pretty damn far from the tree.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2006-11-27 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

Bayh would be one of the worst choices because of the special interest connections. Not to mention the complete lack of inspiration from that quarter.

by College Progressive 2006-11-27 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Republicans Continue Fight Against College Stu

While conducting research for Massa, I learned that Nelnet has give over $10,000 to Randy Kuhl while being under federal investigation.  How brazen for Kuhl to accept tainted money? Doesnt suprise me knowing his character flaws...wink wink nudge nudge smoke signal smoke signal

by optimusprime 2006-11-28 01:51AM | 0 recs
Rates aren't the real problem

While I applaud the hopeful efforts by Democrats to reduce student loan rates and perhaps keep the student loan industry in check, I have to wonder if dropping rates is really the answer.

I think the fundamental issue we need to address is: why are college costs rising every year?

A student loan rate cut is great, but what does it really mean if colleges just raise their tuition in response?

30 years go Americans did not go into debt in order to finance their higher education. You graduated college without debt. THAT is where we need to return to, not simply reducing the rate on debt.

by LiberalFromPA 2006-11-27 09:29AM | 0 recs
My College Graduation Present...

...was a gift from my parents: thanks to scholarships and their sacrifices I was able to finish undergraduate school with no debt.

Law School is another matter, but the point is when I graduated college I was able to control my own destiny. If there's a way I can help other students to have that when they graduate then I will.

by MNPundit 2006-11-27 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: My College Graduation Present...

Are you applying to law school as well? Same here. Holla back.

by optimusprime 2006-11-28 01:52AM | 0 recs
Re: My College Graduation Present...

I'm attending Drake this semester actually.

by MNPundit 2006-11-28 07:22PM | 0 recs


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