Student Aid Bill of Rights brings hope for students

Every young person has the right to an education, but as we have been reminded time and time again, this is often difficult to achieve for a multitude of reasons. Namely, attending a university is expensive, and for the students who are fortunate enough to be able to attend, many of them leave with loans that can take years to pay off.

We have pointed out this problem at our own University with regards to tuition costs, but the issue of college affordability extends across other states as well, making it an issue that deserves national recognition. Fortunately, President Barack Obama recognizes that the federal government needs to do more to make college more affordable and has developed a program that will hopefully better address this problem.

President Obama recently introduced a “Student Aid Bill of Rights,” which is a program designed to “improve the manner in which the federal government interacts with students,” according to an article from USA Today.

The bill states, “every student in America should have access to high quality, affordable higher education, be able to easily find resources to pay for college, be able to choose an affordable repayment plan for student loans, and receive quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment when repaying loans.”

It’s important that the president is acknowledging how high the cost of education is and is looking into ways to improve students’ education. These four rights introduced in the bill — which aim to make higher education more equitable and attainable — are definitely something we can get behind.

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Plans from the Student Aid Bill of Rights include making new rules for organizations that collect loan payments, better informing people about repayment options and directing the Department of Education and other federal agencies to help with loan repayments.

Even on our own campus, the Student Aid Bill of Rights is gaining support. Newly elected student trustee Jaylin McClinton acknowledged his support for this student bill in an article published in The Daily Illini today. We hope McClinton can push for the items on the Student Aid Bill of Rights and let the federal government know that these are issues that are important to students.

We hope the president can follow through with these plans and improve the cost of education not just here at the University, but at colleges and universities across the nation. The country benefits from more citizens going to college, so the federal government and universities should be doing all they can to make affordable college a reality for all students.