mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Uncle Sam wants to give me money I don't need...

In September of 2004, I started the part-time MBA program at the college I work for full-time as a Helpdesk Technician. Getting several thousands of dollars of tuition for free seemed like a good deal. All I pay for is books and registration fees, so the cost is the least difficult part of it for me.

Yet the government still wants to help me pay for my practically free education.

Like most 24-year-olds, I have student loans to pay off. My student loan is through the William D. Ford Federal student loan program - ie, the government.

A couple days ago, I got an envelope in the mail that looked just like my student loan bill - which was odd, since I thought I had just paid it. I opened it up and found out that the Feds had granted me a deferment based on the fact that my school reported that I was a "half-time student" (personally, I think I'm more of a half-assed student). The deferment is automatic, and good until May of 2006. During that time, I can either continue to pay interest, or roll it into the loan at the end of the deferment.

Gotta love the government, which by defering my loan is basically giving me money. Never mind that my student loan is one of my smallest monthly bills. It's one of those bills where I can write out the check without having to check my balance.

See, Mad Anthony has some much larger bills - car loan, insurance, rent. Oddly enough, none of these let me defer my payments. Chrysler won't let me stop paying my car bill because I want to buy another car. And thus we have a prime example of how the government differs from private companies.

I know that one could argue that the point of the Department of Education is to encourage people to get as much education as possible, and defering student loans is one way of encouraging that. (I personally think that federal subsidies for higher ed have mostly just made college more expensive, but that's a topic for another post). There are probably people that it does help, and if I was going to, say, law school full-time, and paying for it, it would be great. But many people in part-time MBA programs are going on their companies' dime, so defering loans - and basically giving a handout to those people - doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I'm thinking that making deferments by request instead of automatic would save the goverment some money while still allowing it to help those who need it. But that would make sense, so this will never be done.


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