Members of our Community Editorial Board, a group of community residents engaged and passionate about local issues, answer the following question: The pause in student loan repayments due to expire at the end of August, Many Colorado student loan debtors are asking for relief. Your opinion ?
Opponents of student debt relief love to lament the “entitlement” and “laziness” of current and former students who are heavily burdened with graduate student debt. They ask (rhetorically, I guess): why did you take out loans if you had no intention of paying them back; why did you go to an expensive college if you couldn’t afford it; I had to work my way through college and pay my debts – why don’t you?
These reactions oversimplify a complicated scenario. They also ignore the fact that for decades students were encouraged to borrow tens of thousands of dollars each year for a college education that promised a path to the middle class. At the same time, state governments cut public education budgets, tuition fees soared, and wages remained stagnant. So that old saw—college is a surefire way to a healthy middle class, and borrowing for college is a good investment in its future—falls very, very far.
In fact, the middle class is shrinking. Income inequality sees the net worth of wealthy Americans grow exponentially while the poorest among us – many of whom have attended college and have student debt – are struggling. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2020 the richest 20% of the population earned 52.2% of all US income. The poorest 20% earned only 3% of the national income.
But it’s not just the poorest among us. Professionals in relatively low-paying careers struggle to live in Boulder and raise families in part because of their student loan debt. Before suggesting that these people have no right to live in Boulder, consider that these are our teachers, first responders, journalists and other professionals who have a real impact on the local economy and community. We (or at least I) want these people to be our neighbors. Student debt relief could be the difference between their choice to stay in our community or move to a less expensive place.
I grew up in a wealthy neighborhood of Colorado Springs in a relatively poor family. I graduated from college with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt that is all paid off today. Even though I will not directly benefit from student loan relief, I still support it. Investing in an educated population is one of the smartest things a country can do. So while I, like many, await an announcement from President Biden regarding student loans, I also believe that our leaders must take action to make college more affordable.
Rachel Walker, [email protected]
Current student loan is just one of many current societal “diseases” that cannot be individually treated, at least not effectively. It is too deeply tied to the body politic on too many levels. Indeed, to use more of a medical analogy, it is more of a symptom than the actual disease.
Similar to symptoms such as chest pain for heart disease, craving for diabetes, or unexpected weight loss for various cancers, student loan problems appear as a later symptom of something more serious beneath the surface. Medicine ultimately advances by being able to look beyond symptoms into the root causes of disease states. From imbalanced “humors” to the development of dissection and microscopy, to biochemistry and various -omics, we have begun to uncover the root causes of many ailments and diseases, increasing our chances of solving them at a higher level. fundamental. . Can we do the same for the student loan mess?
Student loans in and of themselves are neither good nor bad, or even necessary. Ideally, they should be no different from any other loan. But their actual availability and policies have become pathological. There is a growing need (in general) to have some sort of college degree that serves as a key to unlocking future job opportunities and income security. But the crazy inflationary cost of such an education put it far beyond most people’s means.
Scholarships cannot fill this gap for everyone. Student loans can at least partially close this gap, but as the gap grows, ridiculous levels of debt (and even hopelessness) increase, especially as more and more stakeholders take their share of money at stake. It’s an accelerating downward spiral, much like the processes that underlie diabetes or heart disease.
But again, student loan debt itself isn’t the real disease. No, the real disease is much more insidious. And it has many more symptoms than just crushing student debt, including things like lack of affordable housing, health care disparities, increased crime, and abuse of some people. The real disease is the accelerated concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
Canceling student debt can be a good temporary solution for some people. But it’s not a panacea and will likely lead to other problems. Instead, we must directly address the decades of wealth inequality that are a metastatic cancer eating away at the health of our society.
Fintan Steele, [email protected]
Student loan relief the debt will not come from the Biden administration.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last December that “it’s actually a delusion to believe Democrats can get re-elected without acting on the filibuster or student debt.” Democrats are ready to use quid pro quo with loan forgiveness and votes. However, for every vote that Mr. Biden’s debt cancellation can buy for Democrats, he stands to lose several votes. The proposed debt forgiveness is opposed by conservatives, moderates and even some liberals. That’s because it’s ultimately the taxpayer, not the Democratic National Committee, who foots the bill. I think Biden and the Dems will jump on the relief package and instead focus on their climate bill and the backlash from the Roe v. Wade for their midterm campaign.
This is an unfortunate situation for all students. I think we can all agree that rising student debt levels are a problem. Student loan debt has increased by about two-thirds over the past 10 years to a total of $1.7 trillion. As state support for higher education has declined, the role of the federal government has increased. In turn, colleges and universities became more dependent on student tuition, and they increased their costs to match the vast federal resources available to students, including student loans. A 2021 report based on College Board data suggests the cost of a college education has risen about 4.6 times the rate of inflation over the past 50 years. Blind loan forgiveness would exacerbate these factors and remove any incentive for institutions and their administrators to manage their costs. And what about the repercussions? Will all future federal aid be in the form of grants and not loans? Or will new loans be expected to be canceled every few years, making higher education effectively free? Before analyzing the budgetary and inflationary impacts of such a policy, it is necessary to control the ridiculous inflation of the costs of higher education.
Rather than push for another inflationary, anti-budget policy move, the Biden administration would do better: First, propose that the student loan provisions of the Bankruptcy Code be changed. Second, reform student loans to reduce the federal government’s disproportionate role in funding higher education.
Hernan Villanueva, [email protected]