Dear Mr. President :: An Open Letter From Parents Across America

Full disclosure :: this is NOT a political piece. It doesn’t have to be. The issue that concerns families across the United States is that of student loan repayment. No, this topic is not, as they say in law school, “sexy,” but it is very much a reality for my family. It does not matter what your political affiliation is {although I fully expect someone to argue with me that it does}, student loans were readily and, dare I say, easily accessible to my generation, regardless of whether you support the candidate in a red or blue neck-tie {or pantsuit}, figuratively speaking. Just wanted to get that out of the way before I pen my letter to the future President of the United States, yanno, in case he/she finds himself/herself on New Orleans Moms Blog.

Dear Mr. President :: An Open Letter From Parents Across America

Dear {future} Mr. President,

I hope this letter finds you well. I know you have A LOT on your plate. The world is a scary place. At least that is what theSkimm tells me. You see, I presidentpost1am a mom of two toddler boys, and I don’t have much time (or patience, for that matter) to soak up all the news out there. This mom thing leaves little downtime for myself. Prior to kids, I was a self-proclaimed news junkie. In fact, I even stayed up late on election nights and set my alarm to go off periodically to check the results should I fall asleep while watching the riveting coverage. It isn’t that I am no longer interested in politics or government. Quite the opposite. It’s just that pesky thing called time, which I seem to have so little of. I am trying to keep up with this election, honestly I am, but the bickering and finger-pointing and typical “politics” of it all has me … well, it has me exhausted. You see, a vicious cycle. Tired if I do, tired if I don’t. I am just plain T-I-R-E-D.

There is one platform that would capture my attention and interest, though :: student loans. You see, my husband and I are pretty responsible people. We went to college and graduate school for personal reasons, professional aspirations, and to be contributing members of society. Those were values that were instilled in us by our families and ones we hope to pass on to our children. Isn’t that the end goal or main objective for most of us: functional and contributing members of society? I thought so. So in that vein we took out student loans to subsidize our education. Our parents who supported us through undergrad (and believe me, we KNOW how lucky we are to have had even that financial support), could not/would not pay for every expense that comes with graduate school, nor would we expect them to. Can I just say how easy it was to get the money? No real questions, just proof that we were in fact enrolled and voila, thousands and thousands of dollars deposited into our bank accounts before each semester. We lived modestly in graduate school and were frugal most of the time. But then came graduation and the job search. Several of my classmates could not find employment. My husband, a medical school graduate, could not defer his loans in residency.

We recently purchased our first home and I was blown away to discover that my student loan interest rates were 3-4 times greater than that for my mortgage. Isn’t there something fundamentally wrong here?! An education is supposed to be the most valuable investment you can make, yet the rates are atrocious, the money is easy to borrow, and no real consideration is given to the ability to land a job in the field of study. Although my husband and I have already borrowed the money and spent it on our educations, there is still the other side of the coin :: the repayment. One of our contributors recently spoke with a financial advisor who advised her that by the time our children are of college age, it will cost us approximately $240,000 to send one child to LSU for 4 years, exclusive of books and supplies. Oh wait, it gets better. In order to responsibly save for that small fortune, we should be putting away $700 a month. Right now! While we still have our own educations to pay down.

Mine and my husband’s student loan repayments each account for more than our monthly mortgage. Effectively, every month we are paying the equivalent of 3 mortgage payments. How is a family supposed to save to send their children to college (which I assume would be an aspiration of yours) in these circumstances? I don’t mean to come across as uncouth but something has to give. I know my family is not the only one experiencing this financial hardship. We were being responsible, trying to become productive members of society by furthering our education … do our children really have to suffer at our expense? Because at this rate, there is no way we are able to save $1400/month for our sons’ educations. It just is not happening.

If the future of this great nation means anything to you … if you want the United States to be considered innovators and pioneers, we have to educate our children and that objective cannot cripple us financially. Clearly, as we are seeing today, more has to be done to ensure that monies are being borrowed appropriately. But the solution does not lie only at commencement. You now have thousands of families who are struggling because of student loan repayment. You want to stimulate the economy? I’d have a whole lot more money to spend, and believe me, moms know how to do that, if I wasn’t paying back my student loans at such an astronomical rate. Moreover, more people would be able to actually pay them back if the interest rates were lower. Please, on behalf of moms and dads who are struggling to repay their loans, toss us a bone. I think you’ll find a lot more votes cast in your direction.


Your Potential Constituent



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