A way to fix both the VA and the crushing weight of student loans

Maybe my idealism is mixing too much with practicality, but this idea seems to make too much sense to not share.

We have two giant problems that we can solve here:

  1. Some experts on the economy say that the amount of student debt is a real drag on recovery; and
  2. The Veteran’s Administration (VA) is critically understaffed and could use a serious management tuneup.

Let’s for a moment imagine a program wherein a graduate student with a 3.0 GPA or better has access to a modified ‘enlistment’ in the Armed Services. In this ‘enlistment’, this person goes to work for the Veteran’s Administration for a certain number of years. For the sake of discussion, let’s make that number four. In return, they get half of their student debt cancelled. At the same time, they’re expected to put a minimum of 10% of their pay from the VA (yes, I know it’s the Government) into loan repayment. They can “re-up” at the end of that 4 years, but only half of the remaining debt gets cancelled. The 10% contribution still stands.

After sleeping on this, it still seems like a good idea. Let’s look at the benefits:

Young people get to experience first hand some serious values; of dedication, of respect, of selflessness. Working with vets will teach those values to cocky graduates in spades. And maybe it’ll soak in well, given that they’ll be totally immersed in it for four years. In return, our vets get people right out of school with the latest ideas and learning, people who will be full of energy. The VA gets people who have been sharpened in accounting, engineering, administration, and not the least of all, medicine. And coming round to the main point of all this: Our vets get the great care they deserve.

Meanwhile, Congress gets to get out of their passive-aggressive partisan dug-in positions and get something done. They continue to write the check to the VA without asking what help they can be. Well, it’s time for them to give that help that the VA so desperately needs.

If you think this idea is worth it, forward it on. You heard it here first…





Footnotes: I came up with the four-year idea because that would be approximately one-tenth of a career. (One-tenth, as in a tithe.) Drawing from Proverbs 3:9-10:

Honor the Lord with your wealth,
    with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
    and your vats will brim over with new wine.

So then, our graduates – our firstfruits of our colleges –  could honor both God and those who served our country by themselves serving.

I have a respect for every veteran I’ve met; many have seen things that we would never care to see. And the place they come from is that of a quiet strength – something worth passing on. This is a way to allow them to do that, and to be honored in return. They deserve it.


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