Student loan debt an issue that impacts nation

There just aren’t any easy answers as far as addressing what has become the massive problem of student loan debt.

According to the most recent figures we’ve seen, the average college student (notice we didn’t say graduate) leaves campus carrying somewhere in the neighborhood of $26,500 in debt just from going to school.

Pretty nice neighborhood, we’d say, considering this very same former college student will struggle, as many Americans are these days, to find gainful employment.

Lawmakers inside the Beltway are now under fire because interest rates on Stafford loans are about to increase, jumping from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The numbers crunchers tell us that’s going to mean the student will have to pay back an additional $2,600 over a 10-year payment period.

Liberals, claiming that debt is wrecking the lives of young people seeking a higher education, want the interest rates frozen at the lower rate. Conservatives are concerned that the country can ill afford additional debt and that the interest rates should be allowed to increase.

This is one of those rare cases in Washington where both sides are right. We’d further suggest that that the real culpret here is the cost of education, which has skyrocketed in recent years.

One Democratic senator suggests somehow tying student loan interest rates to Wall Street and the nation’s economy: when times are tough, rates decrease; when the economy improves, the rates increase.

It’s an idea that at least deserves consideration. Additionally, and perhaps more to the point, Congress should seek ways and means to hold down the cost of education so these types of debates aren’t necessary in the first place.