Petition to The Whitehouse Regarding 'Student Loan' Abuses by Higher Ed

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The Register petitions The Whitehouse to use its 'bully pulpit' to ask lawmakers to enact legislation addressing the looming Higher Education crisis in America: Higher Education is declining, but tuition is unbearably high – and rapidly increasing.

On September 22, 2011, The Whitehouse launched the “We the People” online petition process on WhiteHouse.gov– a new platform to give Americans a way to create and sign petitions on a range of issues affecting our nation. If a petition gathers enough online signatures, it will be reviewed by policy experts and an official response will be issued by The Whitehouse.

Official website: https://wwws.Whitehouse.gov/petitions

The Register, a conservative online newspaper, became aware of America's Higher Education crisis and investigated. Led by editor-in-chief, Gordon W. Watts, a non-lawyer, whose main claim to fame is his court case which almost won on behalf of Terri Schiavo, The Register initiated the petition process to seek a multi-pronged solution to the various problems:

  • UP: Skyrocketing college tuition up –at rate far above consumer price index
  • DOWN: Quality of American higher education down –below other nations
  • UP: Dramatic rise in student loan defaults
  • DOWN: Crippled economy due to unbearably high debt burden on students
  • UP: Resulting spike in suicides directly attributable stress from debt stress among students
  • NEW: 'Student Loan' debt surpassing 'Credit Card' debt for the first time in America's history

The petition, created last week, seeking fair treatment for college students, is posted to the Whitehouse's website at: http://wh.gov/jU8

Under Whitehouse rules, the petition will become searchable on the Whitehouse website if it reaches 150 signatures, which will make the goal of the second 'threshold' much easier due to public visibility on The Whitehouse website. A second, but lesser-known “benefit” of reaching the 150-signature threshold, is the 'immortality' status, in which the petition will become permanently archived in The Whitehouse website, and still eligible to receive signatures, even after the 'expiration' period for an official Whitehouse response.

The Register discovered this little-known fact about The Whitehouse petition process when it observed the 'expired' petition https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/promote-enforce-teaching-evolution-over-creationism/H4HkDs0B created Sept 24, 2011, well over a month ago, but still present at The Whitehouse website and eligible to receive signatures. By contrast, another petition ( http://wh.gov/24m ) was deleted after its expiration period, since it did not reach the '150-signature' threshold. Therefore, The Register is issuing an official statement of a short-term goal of reaching 150 signatures on http://wh.gov/jU8

  • Conservatives supporting this petition view the unbearably high tuition as legally a tax, as it flows to the government, State Universities in most cases.
  • Liberals are supporting this petition are concerned about the fact that student borrowers do not have 'Standard Consumer Protections,' which even credit card users have.
  • Economic experts of all political stripes have noted the easy availability of huge 'student loans' allows students to borrow more, thus enticing colleges to charge more, driving tuition prices through the roof.

For further information, see recent coverage of this issue at the official mirrors of The Register:

GordonWatts.com
or
GordonWayneWatts.com

The Register's official statement asks that all interested parties sign the petition and forward it to college students who are seeking fair treatment and reform of the current level of abuses.

PETITION LINK: http://wh.gov/jU8
or alternatively:
https://wwws.Whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/ask-lawmakers-pass-legislation-address-higher-ed-crisis-education-declining-tuition-obscenely-high/8bdC5t8V

Other resources, not officially affiliated with The Register, but sharing similar goals:
http://SignOn.org/sign/want-a-real-economic?source=c.url&r_by=525506 (Another petition)
http://ConsumerFinance.gov/chime-in-on-private-student-loans (Government website)
http://ThirstForJustice.net/Higher-Ed-Tuition-Costs.html (Position Paper)

See also:
ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com (focus on forgiveness of unbearably burdensome student debt)
StudentLoanJustice.org (focus on return of Standard Consumer Protections for student loans)
USPirg.org/higher-education (Consumer group seeking to decrease student reliance on college loans by increasing grant aid)
ProjectOnStudentDebt.org (Non-profit think tank)

Sources documenting alarming rise in suicide directly related solely to Student Loan defaults:

[*] “Crushing debt” (Chicago Sun-Times, BY DAVE NEWBART) September 24, 2007 "Jan Yoder was preparing for her son's funeral when the phone rang. It was another student loan collector wanting to know when her son would pay up…It was those calls and the burden of crushing debt, she says, that led her depressed son to take the drastic action of killing himself late last month. ''When it gets to the point where people are fleeing the country, going off the grid or taking their own lives, you know something has gone horribly wrong,'' said Alan Collinge, founder of Student Loan Justice (StudentLoanJustice.org), which is pushing to change student lending laws.” (Higher Ed NewsWeekly: from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, page 57) ~ (Newsalert)

[*] “I’m Thinking of Suicide Because of My Student Loans. – John” (GetOutOfDebt.org, undated news story) “Dear Steve, My student loans are almost $42,000 dollars. I pay almost $260 dollars per month and all but $12 dollars is interest and the principal continues to go higher…I frequently think about suicide; thinking about my son is the only thing that has so far kept me from committing suicide. John” [* "A Pastor's Student Loan Debt" (NPR, by Libby Lewis) July 14, 2007 “Dan Lozer's tiny paycheck means he'll be paying off those loans until 2029...Lozer said there was a time when he thought about suicide.”

For a religious view on finance & debt, accepted by many pastors, such as Lozer, see note "36" in Watts' position paper, regarding various Bible standards on interest fee charges and loan forgiveness options.

[*] “Company’s march toward student loan monopoly scary” (The News Tribune, By ALAN COLLINGE) 06/19/07 “In Boston; a medical student can’t get licensed because he can’t pay $52,000 on what began as a $3,000 debt. A suicide in Oregon. A suicide in Maryland. People who have fled the country due to the explosion of their student loan debt. The list goes on and on.”

The preceding press release was written by Gordon Wayne Watts of Lakeland, Florida, who received a Bachelor’s degree from The Florida State University with a double major in Biological and Chemical Sciences with honors and was the valedictorian from United Electronics Institute. Watts, a non-lawyer, is best known for his lawsuit on behalf of Terri Schiavo[1], which lost 4-3 in the Florida Supreme Court, arguably doing better than even then Governor Jeb Bush’s similar suit[2] (lost: 7-0) or Terri Schiavo’s own family’s federal case[3] (lost: 2-1). Mr. Watts, who ran unsuccessfully for Dist. 64 Fla. House of Representatives, is a part-time political activist while he searches for a full-time job in his field.

Sources:
1. In Re: GORDON WAYNE WATTS (as next friend of THERESA MARIE “TERRI” SCHIAVO), No. SC03-2420 (Fla. Feb.23, 2003), denied 4-3 on rehearing.

2. In Re: JEB BUSH, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, ET AL. v. MICHAEL SCHIAVO, GUARDIAN: THERESA SCHIAVO, No. SC04-925 (Fla. Oct.21, 2004), denied 7-0 on rehearing.

3. Schiavo ex rel. Schindler v. Schiavo ex rel. Schiavo, 403 F.3d 1223, 2005 WL 648897 (11th Cir. Mar.23, 2005), denied 2-1 on appeal.

Contact: Gordon Wayne Watts
Editor-in-Chief, The Register

821 Alicia Road
Lakeland, FL
33801

Gww1210(at)aol(dot)com or:
Gww12102002(at)yahoo(dot)com
(863) 688-9880 (main) ---

GordonWatts.com
GordonWayneWatts.com

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