The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

February 2, 2013

Editorial: Intercepting taxes will help pay student loans

College students learn quite a bit during their years of higher education.

Some, however, will soon be learning how their college loan debts will directly impact their lives. And that’s a good thing.

Ivy Tech, the statewide community college, has implemented a tax intercept program.

Ivy Tech says it is losing out on about $12 million every year because of student-owed money. Using collection agencies, the college recovers about $1 million.

Ivy Tech has taken the step that is used by states including California, Wisconsin and Illinois, among others. If a student falls behind on repayments, then Ivy Tech  will ask the State Department of Revenue to divert all or part of a tax refund to cover student debts.

It’s similar to the recovery system used in collecting back child support. And it should have a similar impact if administered fairly and with attention to when students make payments.

Once debtors are notified, they’ll have 30 days to appeal. That’s one reassuring sign.

As young adults, or those taking classes to improve their work status, Ivy Tech students are learning valuable skills. Among them should be the treasured concept of paying back loans. The tax intercept program will force young adults to further appreciate the value of making a dollar.

The concept of a tax intercept program is a viable alternative that teaches young adults the responsibility of a student loan. But Ivy Tech and other state institutions must be able to show that they are responsible, too.

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