By: Colin Bulger | Health and Lifestyle Editor
Wednesday, August 24, 2022—a date that will go down in history. President Biden just enacted a plan that would eliminate $10,000 of student loan debt for many borrowers, according to The White House. This is kind of a big deal.
For years, folks have been debating whether or not this is a good idea. Heck, during Biden’s campaign, he even ran on the premise to eliminate student loan debts. His reasoning behind this? According to the Department of Education, the typical undergraduate student with loans graduates with nearly $25,000 in debt. From a campaign viewpoint, Biden pulled in many college or fresh out of college students – not a bad way to gain trust of the voters.
Now, this is not a financial article, but you don’t have to be a genius to know that $25,000 worth of debt on your shoulders is not a good thing. However, will eliminating debt be a good thing? Who is going to pay for this? How will this affect higher education? Will universities raise tuition? Who do you think this benefits the most?
I hit the streets and asked some South students these questions…buckle up, this is going to be a good one.
When asked if student loan forgiveness was a good thing, Kaitlyn Lacey, a senior elementary education major here at South, felt that “it’s a good thing for people currently in school, but I kind of feel bad for the people who have left school who have paid off their debts.”
A majority of indebted university students would agree. They’d love to have up to $10,000 of debt erased from their record. Lacey made a great point when asked how this affects higher education. “It could allow people to continue on with their master’s program,” she said.
Not many people would argue with the fact that the more education you have, the better off you’ll be. The more people that are better off, the better that is for society as a whole. Lacey says the decision to transfer some of the debt away from college students will help more people go to college. This makes sense; if you can still go to college without paying the bulk of your loans, why wouldn’t you?
But what about those who have paid off their debts? Or those who chose not to take out a voluntary loan?
Dakota McNulty is one who decided to not attend university. Instead, he joined the workforce and earns a decent living as an applicator engineer.
“At this point, I am used to paying for everyone else’s stuff,” McNulty said of Biden’s recent policy.
When asked what he thinks about the decision about canceling student debt, McNulty said, “It’s not really canceling anything. It’s moving the debt to someone else.”
This is a popular belief among those who chose not to take loans out to pay for their education. Why should they be paying for our education? They chose not to take this route. They shouldn’t be held responsible for those who chose to take out loans.
Nyla Smith, a freshman nursing student, thinks eliminating student debt is a good thing, but only to some extent. She said it’ll help the ones that need it but that you should be responsible for your actions, taking out loans being one of them. Smith says that future generations are going to be paying for this. She agreed with the fact that those who worked so hard to pay off their debts get stuck with doing it all over again, and while it may not be directly, it will be through future taxes.
She mentioned those who did not go to college, “What about them? How is that fair to them?” We know that the world is an unfair place that doesn’t owe you or me anything, but we are allowed to question the practices that affect all of us. Smith agrees it is only logical for universities to raise their tuition in place of this decision.
Next, I talked to Sophie Kearley. Kearley, a freshman biomedical sciences major, has some compelling arguments that made me do a double take on my own beliefs. Kearley feels that the student loan forgiveness program is a great thing. She mentioned how she knows the stress that debt can cause people who are unable to pay off their loans. Financial hardship can make people up to twenty times more likely to make an attempt on their lives, according to Health. It’s important we emphasize the mental well-being of our society, and if giving financial support is a way to supplement the lives of others, then it is a fair option.
Kearley believes that education should be more of a right than a privilege. Eliminating some of these debts can give more folks the opportunity to live a life with liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
When asked who is going to pay for this, Kearley mentioned that taxpayers and allocating funds from different areas the government gives money to may be where the money should come from. She said to look at other countries and see how they have done it and mirror that for the same success here. Sophie thinks everyone will benefit from this, giving more people the chance to continue their education.
Whatever your thoughts and opinions are on this topic, know that there is no right or wrong answer. What is right for you will be wrong for someone else and vice versa. You’ll never be able to please everybody and that’s okay. It’s not perfect, but it might be the best option we’ve got.