A Dream Deferred: It’s Time to Forgive Student Loans

A deadline is looming and so far over 43 million Americans are holding their breath to find the fate of their student loan debt. The Biden Administration has paused payments again and again because of the pandemic. Interest is not accruing on federal loans and interest to pay said loans is waning as the August 31st date looms. August 31st is when payments are supposed to resume but I’m with the majority of Americans that think that student loans should be wiped out.

Again and again and again, The United States Government bails out the big corporations but imagine what would happen if the government took the burden of student loan debt off its citizens. With inflation increased and the minimum wage stagnant resuming payments right now would do more harm than good.

If you’re one of those wiping out student loans is drastic and “I paid mine why should the government help others” type of person thank you for your Disney Villain energy but that’s not a valid argument. Not wanting someone to be treated better than you or have better service because you feel slighted feels slimy and selfish. It’s great that some people had the means to pay off their student loans but with interest so high paying your bill every month on time still won’t get you anywhere close to financial freedom.

Once upon a time while on income-based repayment I was paying $375 a month in student loan payments. I was making this payment every month knowing the income-based system only pays attention to the money you’re making and not any other things you need to pay to survive. For context that student loan payment was more than my car note (living in Pittsburgh it’s almost impossible to get around without a car as our public transportation is subpar) and more than half my rent. This $375 would make itself my second highest expense next to rent. Resuming payments would make a lot of folks house poor or even worse homeless.

Student loans are not like any other debt. It wasn’t until 1976 that they barred student loans from bankruptcy proceedings. Imagine being 18 and just getting through the American Education system which didn’t teach you about interest or fixed rates because we were too busy taking standardized tests and finding “x” and not seeing a promissory note for the first time. Most college students just signed it. I imagine they’re much wiser now hence why enrollment rates are down in quite a few colleges. No other debt has you promise to pay back an undetermined amount of money where you won’t know your balance until graduation. For example, my 2016 Ford Fiesta was purchased in 2017. I signed off knowing how long I would have to pay and how much it would be every month and a few years in I’m almost done with my payments. I could buy three Fiestas with my student loan debt or a house and a used car. That’s not saying that my Fiesta was cheap but the price of tuition is way too expensive. College should not be a luxury.

According to a study, if the federal government would forgive student loans it wouldn’t just help the economy but that move would close the racial wealth gap. Even if just $50,000 was forgiven for households making less than $100,000 it would increase black borrowers’ wealth by 33 percent. “Bumping it to $75,000 in forgiveness would raise it to 42 percent.” Last but not least imagine all the things people put off because of student loan debt. There’s a generation of adults who deferred purchasing a house or starting a family because of the astronomical amount of debt we took on at 18 years old.

18-year-olds can’t drink legally because they’re not mature enough but they’re mature enough to take out 40k in debt. If this is just the way that the future is going to be we should just give the 18-year-old the 40k to start their own business because these degrees aren’t even promising a return on investment.

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