Mitt Romney’s student loan plan criticized

Published: Tuesday, July 10 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

A young man holds up a dollar sign during an Occupy Wall Street rally against the high cost of college tuitions April 25, 2012 in New York.

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Our take: Mitt Romney's student loan plan, which would usher private lenders back into the federal student loan market, has been criticized by several higher education analysts while others say private lenders could create a better marketplace for students, The Boston Globe reports.

"Mitt Romney promises to usher private lenders back into the federal student loan market in a bid to decrease default rates and increase efficiency if he becomes president, but such a move could cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars over a decade without saving students money, according to several higher education analysts.

"The prime beneficiaries, critics say, would be banks and loan companies that stand to reap a financial boon through subsidies to make nearly risk-free, government-backed loans. They are the same firms that benefited from the system that existed for decades before 2010, when President Obama required that the government issue all federal student loans."

Bill Hansen, a Romney adviser on higher education policy, "said private lenders, working with nonprofits and state agencies, often did a better job than the federal government on debt counseling and tracking students for repayment. They are also able to offer incentives such as further reducing interest rates for students who make payments on time or have payments automatically deducted from their bank accounts. A lower default rate could end up saving taxpayers money, he said."

Trent Hamm, a guest blogger at The Christian Science Monitor, wrote that making a chart to track your student loan payment progress can help you feel like you're making progress.

"For example, let's say your goal is to pay off $100,000 in student loans. One thing you can do is create a 100100 grid and put it on your wall. Each square represents $10 toward paying off your loan. Whenever you make a payment, fill in a square for every $10 your debt goes down. If you can make an extra payment here or there, do so and mark it on the squares.

"Every great journey involves a lot of little steps. Sometimes the trick is to keep focused on each little step. Do that enough, and you'll find that you've reached your goal."

Read more about Romney's student loan plan on The Boston Globe.

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