Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Loans Cut For MATC Students...

Education, Germantown, MATC, Political, Taxes, Wisconsin

MATC students along with all technical college and two-year college students in Wisconsin have a more difficult time gaining their education as the result of lenders leaving this marketplace.

MATC has nearly 5,300 students now at risk due to the fact that several lenders have decided to pull out of this market stating that it is unprofitable.  That supposedly is caused by too little money being borrowed for too short a time.

The total of loans that are affected by these pull-outs is more than $18 million, and involves five lenders for MATC students.

Several thoughts occur:

What other programs are available to these 5,300 students?  Supposedly there are from six to twenty other lenders available to the students if we are to believe the technical college system president, Daniel Clancy.  If that is the case, why would some big names pull out?  Those names included Chase, Citibank and TCF.  If there is money to be made, wouldn't they still want some of it?  Or is this indicative of some other more pervasive problem?

Will they qualify for replacement loans or is that really part of the problem that causes the lenders to want out?  Many of the students relying on these loans are low income people as you would presume could be the case.  It may not be possible for them to apply to other lenders and expect to be granted access to credit.  The federal government passed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 and, contrary to what the name might suggest, this limited federal subsidies to those who lend money to students, and more than fifty such lenders left the market.  This suggests that we're talking about marginally-viable loans and that, without government guarantees, there will be fewer dollars available and those will go to better credit risks.

If there is a loss of significant numbers of MATC students, will MATC face up to the need to reduce budget?  There are nearly 5,300 students affected by this situation.  If half of those are unable to obtain different loans, there will likely be a similar number dropping out of MATC.  I don't know what the 'full time equivalent' student number is, but let's assume that these students are half-time.  So we would have a loss of half of the 5,300, or 2,650 and those would equate to 1,325 full time equivalent students.  That is about ten percent of the current total FTE students now attending MATC.  Will we see a ten percent reduction in the MATC budget?

Or, will MATC see this as forcing it to actually increase its tax take in order to offset the loss of student tuition?  Your guess is as good as mine, but I'll be amazed if we see a budget reduction as the result of this situation.  One cannot simply reduce staff because the student load has dropped, can one?  How does one manage to down-size when there are so many fixed costs, so many people relying on MATC for their livelihoods, so much left to do in the building of the empire?

What seems more likely is that this will be dragged out as alternatives are sought, and it will be talked about for awhile until we lose track of the issue.  Maybe state legislators will step up up and recommend new state guarantees.  After all, military veterans are given 100% tuition credits so it is only fair to begin providing everyone with 100% tuition to attend MATC.  It is only fair that MATC have this kind of support since the Milwaukee Public Schools are generating so few qualified graduates any longer.

The last paragraph was intended as 'tongue in cheek' in nature but I fear that it might be closer to reality than not. 

The president of the MATC teachers union, Michael Rosen, says he'll be in contact with Representative Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) to seek her help in assuring that students still have access to federal loans.  The dominoes have begun to fall and they threaten to crush us taxpayers yet again.  Why do they never topple in the other direction?


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