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Fix Student Loans System
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Reasonable policies are needed to manage student loans, says a signed article in Modern Express News. An excerpt follows:

Several students at universities in Chongqing and Guangzhou could not get official certificates for their higher education six or seven years after they left because they did not pay back student loans before graduating.

The student loans were issued under the state guidelines to assist students from low-income families to gain equal access to college education.

The students applied for the loans for tuition and living expenses on campus because their families could not afford these costs.

Besides learning, the students might take on some part-time work. The minor income from these jobs would cover food, clothing and daily necessities, but there is little chance of these students making enough money to pay back their debts before they finish university.

It is therefore both fair and reasonable to ask them to pay back the loans when they find a job and get a steady income.

When universities refuse to give students their diplomas because they have not paid back bank loans, the students have more trouble finding a job and earning money to clear their debts.

Student loans are not unique to China. Other countries offer plentiful experiences for us to learn from to settle problems involved in the process.

US students borrowing money for university education usually have 10 years to pay back their loans starting from six months after graduation. Repayment can be suspended if graduates are unable to find a job or get sick.

Admittedly, banks need to take back the money, and universities need to pressure students to pay back their loans on time. But students do not have enough money to repay loans when they are finding it difficult to get a steady income because they do not have their diplomas. This situation embarrasses all of them.

If the policy-makers can work out more considerate measures in managing student loans, the situation will be fixed.

(China Daily November 22, 2006)

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