“We’re getting calls and e-mails from parents, at least two and three a day, saying the denial of their student loans is a disaster,” said Johnny Taylor, president of the Washington-based Thurgood Marshall College Fund. “You have black students from low-income households about to enter college or already there and pressing towards graduation, persisting just as Obama urged them to do, only to have his administration pull the rug out from under them.”
The reason, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, is to prevent parents from taking on too much debt — which is as patronizing as it is hypocritical. In April, Obama announced that he was pushing to make more home loans available to people with weak credit.
He says it’s part of an effort to improve the economy, as if having an educated workforce is not.
Moreover, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the federal government stands to rake in $51 billion in profits from student loans this year. That means a whole lot of parents are paying off those loans.
Nevertheless, from Howard University in the District to Morehouse and Spelman colleges in Atlanta, enrollment at HBCUs is declining as the realities of Obama’s revamped loan policies make a mockery of his high-flung rhetoric.
“It is particularly ironic that at a time when this administration has set a goal to increase the nation’s college graduation rate to 60 percent by 2020, this policy shift occurs that will make reaching the goal impossible,” said Cheryl Smith, senior vice president for public policy and government at the United Negro College Fund. “The tougher credit criteria are having a disparate impact on underrepresented minority students, the very ones that stand to benefit the most from a college education.”