Is student loan forgiveness the right answer to a bigger problem? 4 more reads | Opinion

By members of The Spartan staff

THE ISSUE of college costs and student loans is one that affects a majority of students, largely for the debt that they carry with them after four or more years preparing themselves for a career.

Certainly, when President Joe Biden unveiled his student loan forgiveness plan with the idea of canceling a collective sum of $400 billion of debt nationwide, many expressed their support. 

Since then, the program has met some stiff opposition, largely from conservatives. Indeed, it might have heard its death knell Thursday when U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman, a Donald Trump-appointed judge in Texas, held that the department didn’t have the legal authority to offer loan forgiveness on that scale.

While the White House said it will appeal the ruling, it also has stopped accepting applications. And unless the administration can persuade a higher court to overturn Pittman’s ruling, the program appears dead.

Biden’s plan was already paused as the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals looked at lawsuits introduced by six states: Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina, according to npr.org. 

The primary objection has had to do with the cost: The Department of Education’s website estimates that the program will cost taxpayers $400 billion over the next 30 years.

Here are some links to a few articles that posted Friday on the plan and its future, which at this moment is looking bleak:

Student loan forgiveness may be dead. Here’s what’s going on, Los Angeles Times

A Judge Struck Down Student Loan Forgiveness. Here’s What That Means for Borrowers, TIME

Demise of Biden’s student loan handout rocks Twitter: ‘Its only purpose was to buy votes,’ FOX News

What student loan borrowers need to know after a federal court struck down Biden’s forgiveness program, CNN

EXPLAINER: Where does the student loan debt plan stand? The Associated Press

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained, studentaid.gov

As part of The Spartan’s mission to not only report on campus news and offer students a voice on the issues of the day, members of the staff earlier this week were asked to produce a 400- to 500-word on the issue, obviously before Thursday’s news..

Several ran Wednesday today and the remainder are running below.

We hope this prompts some discussions or maybe feedback from readers on how they view the plan specifically and the issue overall, regardless of its future.

Nathan Leakway is a sophomore majoring in Professional Writing.

As of this writing, President Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 of student loan debt is on hold following a legal challenge brought forth by six Republican led states.  But let’s not overcomplicate things: Canceling student debt is a good idea, and Biden should cancel all of it.

Let me go even further – higher education should not be a commodity.  

Markets are good for some things, but time has shown over and over again that leaving the price of education to the market results in unnecessary economic burdens being placed on generation after generation of young folks.  Higher education, at least at the community college and vocational level, can – and should – be free and funded by progressive taxation.

Our current system not only requires large numbers of young folks to accept ever-increasing amounts of debt prior to enrolling in college, it also excludes many poor individuals for whom this assumption of debt is a non-starter.  Furthermore, those who do take out loans and go to school before entering the workforce (only 39% of whom have a degree) find that the debt that they are saddled with precludes them from buying homes or starting families.

Canceling student debt would be a massive step toward correcting this.  The idea, of course, has its detractors.  A common argument against student debt cancellation is that it would be unfair to the countless individuals who already repaid their debts.  But where does this line of thinking go?  

Couldn’t this argument be used against any piece of reform?  Should marijuana not be legalized because it would be unfair to individuals who have suffered legal consequences as a result of using or possessing marijuana?  Should prescription drug prices not be lowered because it would be unfair to those who had to pay higher prices in the past?

All I see here is an argument for constructing a more just and fair higher education system, not an argument against canceling debt.  Americans should not have to enter agreements with predatory lending companies and be saddled with life-altering debt in order to receive an education.  

There are other ways to go about funding higher education, and they are not radical.  And let’s not forget, canceling student debt is popular among voters on both sides of the aisle.

Biden has already made it clear that he can cancel student debt through an executive order.  He should do this, and cancel it all, without hesitation.

Julian Leon is a senior majoring in Sport Media.

Student loan forgiveness is one of the hottest topics in the United States, not just for current students but anyone with student loan debt. No one wants the burden of worrying about thousands of dollars that are owed; it’s a stress that stays on anyone’s mind.

President Biden’s plan is to reduce that debt by distributing either $10,000 or $20,000 for those who apply and qualify.

But that’s not the problem. The problem is the lack of marketing from schools and loan
providers to allow students to access these applications and the correct information. The chances of a student even knowing how to apply or follow the right steps are probably slim because most students don’t know the details in this situation.

These loan providers need to work hand and hand with schools and anyone with student loan debt to market this a lot more than what it’s currently at. While everyone might have different amounts of debt at the end of the day, we are all covered in a cloud of student debt that will never go away.

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt relief at Delaware State University, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Dover, Del. A U.S. judge in Texas on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2022, blocked Biden’s plan to provide millions of borrowers with up to $20,000 apiece in federal student-loan forgiveness. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The responsibility falls on us, the students, but if the government can lend a helping hand and even knock down a quarter of it, the difference for anyone with student debt would be very impactful.

We all go to college to gather a high degree of knowledge, earn a degree and get a successful job, but no one deserves to live with debt for wanting to make something of themselves. Around 26 million people have already applied for student debt relief. That number may be large but compared to how many others should be able to apply but aren’t because they simply are not being alerted on what to do and how to do it.

Media has produced articles with resources of what to do with the application, how to sign up and provide the information. But with minimal social media news, minimal television spots and marketing, what about the younger generation that does not watch the news? Is the responsibility then again on us? Or will these administrations finally step up and provide what’s necessary for everyone to have a fair chance at receiving what we have all earned.

Kai O’Brien is a Mass Communications major. He also runs track and field and plays for the club. lacrosse team as well. 

Student loans have been the bane of college graduates’ existence for years on end.

But recently, President Joe Biden released a student loan forgiveness plan, which would provide up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness for millions of borrowers.

However, these borrowers are receiving more than $20,000 for student loans. In the criteria, practically anyone who has applied for a PELL grant or federal student loan is eligible to receive the loan forgiveness.

Graduated college already? No problem, as long as your loans are disbursed by June 30, 2022. The Department of Education should notify you when your loan forgiveness has hit, as long as you are eligible. Notice how many times I said the word eligible?

The criteria to have this loan forgiveness plan is ridiculous. I am a college student myself, and personally, I have never heard of the PELL or FFEL grant.

These two grants guarantee that you get the most money back from this plan. And there is a really good chance you’ve never heard of those grants. If you didn’t apply for the PELL grant, you lose half of the money you’re supposed to get back.

And student debt is in the trillions of dollars right now. The average student debt in the U.S. is $30,000, so this plan, in theory, would fix this easily.

But do we always have to go off of theories? Can we look at the world itself? Inflation recently hit our economy like a truck and everything just got more pricey. And what about those who don’t have their loans disbursed, what are they supposed to do? Suffer? Watch everyone else around them get handed $20,000 for signing up for something they didn’t even know existed?

It makes me feel bad for those who are in that situation. One other thing to point out is that even though this is awarded to those who have student loans, it is suited toward those who are better able to pay off these loans sooner.

To be eligible for forgiveness, you must have federal student loans and earn less than $125,000 annually. Want to know what the average household income is right now? Under $75,000.

It simply doesn’t make any sense to me that you would give a plan that doesn’t have any chip in the economic downfall of the country,

Chris Hulsart is a sophomore and a Sport Media major.

Forgiving student loans to me is not something that I think should even be up for discussion. Besides the fact that it would be extremely difficult to pass and there are more pressing issues at the federal and education level, it is not something I think is fundamentally fair. 

For many years, the price of attending college has been increasing disproportionately compared to the increased earnings that come with having a degree.

To me, that’s the problem that needs solving. For the same education, people today have to pay more than what they used to for similar outcomes. And this applies at all levels: community college, in-state public and private university. Until that issue is solved, people will continue to take out large loan amounts and struggle to pay them back.

Forgiving college loans only makes the problem worse by encouraging people to take out large student loans.  It rewards people who were financially irresponsible. There are exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking one can go to their state’s flagship in-state institution for minimal cost.

If one makes the choice to go to a private institution, they’re taking a risk. I understand the appeal: Private universities are often able to offer a better education, higher potential earnings, increased opportunities, etc. When one chooses to go to a private institution instead of a much cheaper one in state, they’re taking a risk and hoping that the possible advantages will outweigh the steep upfront costs.

The government shouldn’t reward people who made a bad investment and consequently penalize those who gave up the opportunities reaped by their counterparts in order to go to a more affordable school.

To add, if everyone knew their loans would be forgiven, way more people would go to college. This would decrease the value of a degree, which kind of throws off the whole point of going to a university

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