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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 基础版》第6章 教育类 Unit 73

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2019年01月19日

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Both the House and the Senate have recently passed bills to reform student lending,and observers think a final bill may land on the president's desk in a month.Democrats have always been critical of federal interest-rate subsidies to private lenders,which is how student loans are organised.They are spurred on by scandal—many lenders like Student Loan Xpress have been caught handing illegal kickbacks to college aid officials—and by the fact that a private-equity consortium,led by J.C.Flowers,is in the process of buying out Sallie Mae,the largest student lender. This has put a spotlight on the fat margins of the $85 billion-a-year student-loan industry,where Sallie Mae's five-year average return on equity was an astonishing 52% per year. 
At present the federal government subsidises student loans in two ways.First,the government lends through the William D.Ford direct loan programme,which competes with private lenders and has about a quarter of the student-loan market.Second,private lenders get subsidies that allow them to lower the interest rates they charge students.In the past,lenders have successfully resisted proposed reductions to their subsidies of as little as ten basis points by threatening to leave the market.Now the bills are proposing to reduce subsidies by 50-55 basis points. 
The principal terms of both bills are sensible.They increase the maximum“Pell Grant” for low-income students from $4,050 currently to $5,400 by 2011.The funding comes by cutting about $18 billion-19 billion in lender subsidies over five years.Next,graduates’ loan repayments are capped at a manageable percentage of income and all debt is cancelled after 25 years of repayment.Finally,the bills provide more loan forgiveness for graduates who enter public-service careers,including police,firefighters,nurses and inner-city teachers.Taken together,these are the biggest changes since the student-loan system was created,in 1965,as part of Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programmes. 
The biggest risk in cutting the interest-rate subsidies is that banks may leave student lending en masse,or that smaller lenders may be forced out of the market.This would mean few choices for students and possibly a large number of borrowers swamping the government programme.“Congress still wants lending to be profitable,just not too profitable,” says Ajita Talwalker of TICAS,a non-partisan institute that studies the accessibility and affordability of higher education.This may prove a tough balancing act,since no one knows what the right number is. 
Critics still find the bills defective.Higher-education costs have risen much faster than inflation or aid increases,so students have been paying more out-of-pocket and taking more private loans.Yet both bills do little to tackle the rise in tuition costs.Richard Vedder of Ohio University points out that productivity is a major problem; professors in many schools have a weekly teaching workload that is a third lighter than 40 years ago,but their pay and benefits have increased.All sides agree there needs to be more transparency in costs and an element of price competition.As far as the bills at hand are concerned,many experts are calling for the House to drop its entitlement programmes,which make certain spending mandatory,and to direct the money to the Pell Grants. 
注(1):本文选自Economist; 
注(2):本文习题命题模仿对象为2001年真题Text 2和Text 4第4题(本习题第5题)。 
1.The expression“land on the president's desk” (Line 2,Paragraph 1)means that _______. 
A) something flies to or drops on the president's desk 
B) something is put on the president's desk for decoration 
C) something is sent for the president's approval 
D) something is presented to the president as a gift 
2.Cutting the interest-rate subsidies is risky because _______. 
A) it might leave students few choices to borrow money 
B) it might lead to a huge loss for banks and private lenders 
C) it might make government programmes less profitable 
D) it might damage the whole student-loan system 
3.The writer mentioned the“50-55 basis points” at the end of the 2nd paragraph to show that _______. 
A) government will support their own programmes rather than private lenders 
B) the government is unwilling to subsidize private lenders 
C) private lenders fail to lobby the congressmen 
D) the Congress is determined to make some big changes 
4.It can be indicated from the last paragraph that ______. 
A) the increase of high-education cost is mainly due to inflation in recent years 
B) the bill is believed by some people to be unpromising since it does not grasp the key problem 
C) the rising tuition cost is solely caused by the decreasing productivity of university professors 
D) more competition will be soon introduced into the market of students’ loan thanks to the bill 
5.Toward the issue of student lending and high-education costs,the attitude of many experts seems to be _______. 
A) indifferent 
B) unsatisfactory 
C) objective 
D) biased 

最近众、参两院都通过了改革学生贷款的法案。观察家们认为不出一个月,最后的法案就可能送到总统的办公桌上以待审批。学生贷款是通过联邦政府在利率上补贴私营贷款者而实现的,而民主党对此政策一向持批评态度。最近,在学生贷款问题上曝光的丑闻使他们感到震惊:许多学生贷款提供方诸如Xpress利用回扣佣金贿赂大学贷款办负责人;此外,以弗劳尔斯为首的私募基金财团正在收购美国最大的学生贷款公司Sallie Mae。这使得每年利润高达850亿美元的学生贷款行业暴露在聚光灯下,仅Sallie Mae公司五年中的资本回报率平均每年高达52%。 
目前,联邦政府通过两种方式对学生贷款进行补贴。其一是由政府实行威廉·D·福特直接贷款计划,该计划在与私营贷款机构竞争中占有四分之一的学生贷款市场。其二是对私营贷款机构进行补贴,从而使他们降低学生贷款的利率。过去曾经有提案要求对贷款机构的补贴幅度降低10个基点的利率,但贷款方以撤离市场为要挟抵制了该提案。现在,新提案则要求减少50至55个基点的补贴。 
两份提案的主要条款都十分合乎情理。这些条款指出为贫困学生设立的“助学金”现在的上限从4050美元提高到2011年的5400美元。这笔资金将来源于今后五年间通过减少贷款机构的补贴节省出的约180~190亿美元。其次,研究生贷款的分期还款必须为其收入的一个合理比例,并且所有债务在分期偿还25年之后将全部取消。最后,该提案为选择从事公共服务事业的毕业生提供更多的贷款宽免,这些职业包括警察、消防人员、护士和贫民区的教师。总体来说,自从1965年总统林登·约翰逊在其“伟大社会”施政纲领中提出学生贷款计划以来,这是该计划经历的最大规模的变革。 
削减利率补贴的最大风险在于银行可能会集体撤离市场,或小规模贷方被挤出市场。这意味着学生的贷款选择范围变得更小,而大量借贷者将深陷政府计划之中。TICAS是一所专门研究高等教育的普及和费用承受能力的无党派机构,其政策研究员味田·塔沃克认为“国会仍然希望贷款能够有利可图,只是不得获得暴利”。他的话也说明了国会这一法案将很难找到平衡点,因为没人知道究竟多少才是适当的利润。 
评论家仍然能在提案中找到一些缺陷。高等教育费用的上涨速度远远超过通货膨胀及学生补助的增长,因此学生不得不支付额外费用并增加私人贷款。但两份提案几乎都没有涉及学费上涨的问题。俄亥俄大学的理查·维得认为主要问题是教学效率不足:许多大学的教授每周教学任务比40年前少了三分之一,而他们的薪水和福利却提高了。各方在增加教育成本透明度和价格竞争因素问题上意见一致。就现有的这些提案来说,许多专家要求国会去掉其中一些指定性的费用支出,把省下来的资金投入到贫困生助学金中去。 
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