That sweet spot in the America Dream - college education for the poor - has soured. A growing number of those federal Perkins student loans earmarked for the poor and administered by the institutions of higher learning themselves aren't being paid back.
Consequently, reports Bloomberg, those institutions are suing. By federal law, they are mandated to try to collect. Familiar is the story of college graduates not being able to get jobs or employment which pays enough to allow repayment of student loans. Unlike with Stafford loans, income-based repayment doesn't apply to Perkins.
According to Bloomberg, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and George Washington University have already filed lawsuits against some of those whose repayment is 120 days or more late. The amount due tends to balloon because of both interest adding up and collection fees, including lawyer expenses. Therefore, that $4,200 a former student can't pony up grows by the thousands.
As word of mouth recounts this horror among lower income families, there might be fewer of their members considering a college education. That would be a loss of talent as well as reduced diversity from us first-generation college students.
Back in the 1960s, Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania provided a sanctuary to us first-geners. I arrived from the mean streets of Jersey City, New Jersey with a full scholarship and work contract from Seton Hill. So did many other members of the Class of '67. There were also emotional safety nets to catch us as we encountered culture shock. The majorities of those stories have had happy endings. If a small Roman Catholic woman's college could pull that off a half century ago, why can't major universities accomplish that today?