BY NICK IRONSIDE // APRIL 12, 2012 //

I have a gripe about America’s education system. The worst part of it is called “college debt,” and I’m pretty sure others feel the same way.

When my dad left Cambridge University (England) in 1983, he was free. Free from any college debt. His parents didn’t have to save for years on end, either. They paid roughly £4,500 total (about $7,200 American) for his tuition, and that was it. The system was recently tinkered with in England, and now students pay roughly twice that amount to attend a college or university…which still isn’t a bad deal.

His experience with college debt sounded wonderful compared to what mine will be. Unfortunately, the U.S. has a different system. No matter how much I whine, it won’t change to the British government’s style anytime soon.

This morning, I decided to look around and see what President Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney (who is pretty much the Republican nominee, barring a drastic event of some sort) think about college debt. Is there a way out of paying an arm and a leg for my education?

According to Romney, there isn’t. In a New York Times article, Romney said, “Don’t just go to (a college) that has the highest price. Go to one that has a little lower price where you can get a good education. And hopefully, you’ll find that. And don’t expect the government to forgive the debt that you take on.”

Wow. Thanks a lot, Mr. Romney. I’m not sure about other students, but this might well mean his name isn’t checked off in the voting booth this November when it’s my turn to place a vote.

Our current president seems to be a bit kinder toward college students. An article on CBSNews.com from October 2011 stated that Obama wants to do something about college debt. When our country’s outstanding student loans statistics were within touching distance of $1 trillion, Obama spoke up. He has an idea called the “Pay as You Earn” plan.

His plan would speed up “…the timeline for an already-approved loan repayment plan that would lower monthly federal student loan payments for Americans whose burden of debt is disproportionate to their earning abilities.” In short, your per-month student loan repayments should be proportionate to what you’re earning.

That’s more like it! In fact, it seems to align itself a little with a way England makes students pay back loans. The government across the pond says students have to start paying back loans “once you complete your course and start earning more than £15,795.” That’s a salary of $25,200.

There’s still six-plus months until the presidential election, but it’s safe to say that Obama is at least thinking about college students more than Romney is.

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