ArticlesVolume 4, Issue 2 (2014)

Foreclosures and Financial Aid: Mind Over Mortgages in Closing the Plus Loan Gap

Kamille Wolff Dean

Dean of Law, Columbia Law School
Citation:4 COLUM. J. RACE & L. 129 (2014)

Abstract

Renewed discussion has recently emerged to help strengthen the middle class by increasing access to college. President Barack Obama is at the forefront of the discussion to make college more affordable by prompting universities to become more efficient. Using education as a gateway to success, the Obama Administration proposed a number of initiatives to deter college spending and promote financial aid accountability. This Article analyzes the nuances in financial aid that stem from the Higher Education Act of 1965 (“HEA”), which is set for reauthorization in 2014. The Article addresses an array of inherent problems in the current student loan industry, particularly as the student aid system relates to the federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (“PLUS”) loan program. Specifically, the discussion defines the scope of consumer financial reform pertaining to student loans, and proposes adequate revision to the student loan provisions of the HEA to soundly provide college funding to financially distressed students and their families. The discussion also proposes a number of recommendations and best practices for relieving the heavy burden of student loan debt carried by Americans that now amounts to over 1 trillion dollars. The movement towards eroding wealth inequality through the attainment of higher education emerges as a viable opportunity for promoting innovative reform in the student loan industry. Such action is plausible considering the reauthorization of the HEA that is presently under consideration. This Article analyzes the new programs related to the agenda of lowering student debt while expanding affordable credit to attend college. Emerging student loan products are evaluated and refined to offer suggestions for the equitable implementation and enforcement of revised student loan terms.