I don't agree with all of Mr. Hertz's proposal, but all are worthy of consideration. I am listing some of his suggestions:
1) Student borrowers should not be required to make payments on their student loans until they make at least $40,000.
2) No interest should accrue on student loans. In fact, interest on student loans should be abolished altogether.
3) All student debt owed by borrowers or cosigners over age 60 should be forgiven.
4) Students debtors should have access to the bankruptcy courts.
5) The following types of academic programs should be excluded from the student-loan program:
- Third-tier law schools
- MBA programs
- Graduate programs in liberal arts
- for-profit vocational schools
- loans for living expenses
Near the conclusion of Mr. Hertz's list of recommendation, he makes this trenchant observation, which I quote:
Let's quit harassing and destroying our own citizens. The Federal Reserve was rich enough to buy up billions of 'toxic assets' after the bank meltdown of 2008. We can do the same with toxic student loans, which are destructive to more individuals than subprime mortgages. You an walk away from an unaffordable house. That destroys your credit but your financial life can be rebuilt. These student loans are forever.I will take this opportunity to list my own list of student-loan reforms, which are similar to Mr. Hertz's reforms, but not identical.
1. Distressed student borrowers should be able to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy like any other nonsecured consumer debt.
2) The for-profit college industry should be shut down completely.
3) The Department of Education should be forbidden from garnishing Social Security checks from elderly student-loan defaulters.
4) The Parent PLUS program, which loans money to parents of college students, should be abolished; and private lenders should be prohibited by law from requiring student debtors to obtain co-signers for their loans. In addition, all student-loan cosigners should be immediately released from any legal obligation to pay back student loans that were taken out to benefit a third party (usually the child or grandchild of the cosigner).
I have called for reforms again and again, but I take this opportunity to state them again along with the reforms proposed by Bob Hertz.