Forgive Me, Joe

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Anna Carlson is a junior multimedia journalism major at PLNU.

I think I’ll die before I am able to pay back my student loans. 

During his campaign, President Joe Biden promised voters he would forgive up to $10,000 in loans for federal borrowers. Biden issued an extension of student loan and interest pause, and temporary relief for loan borrowers with disabilities. In his first 100 days in office, Biden failed to cancel that $10,000. Progressives want as much as $50,000 in loan forgiveness. 

Among those progressives is Senator Elizabeth Warren, who in an interview with the Washington Post in early May, said she is pushing the president to use executive authority to cancel up to $50,000. Biden has since dashed progressives’ hopes in any future debt relief with recent public statements downplaying student debt and the progressive agenda. 

According to the Department of Education, canceling up to $50,000 in debt would eliminate loans of more than 36 million borrowers, which could be the future of higher education in the U.S.

Low-income American households that make less than $25,000 a year might see $10,000 debt forgiveness as a huge source of relief. However, the skepticism toward Biden and progressives’ plan is extensive. 

Senyo Adjibolosoo, professor of economics at PLNU, said the desire to forgive loans will never work as well as some people think.

“The unchanging truth is that anytime you rob Peter to pay Paul, Peter will still get richer.

However, sadly, Paul will get back into his previous state of debt – if not more,” said Adjibolosoo.

Viewed in this light, President Biden’s plan will only create many more problems long-term than he and his team members may have imagined, said Adjibolosoo.

Breanna Seshun, junior psychology major at PLNU, said the fear of student debt wouldn’t lead her to pursue a different major that might be more financially advantageous. But, if there was substantial student loan forgiveness, she wouldn’t dread piling on loans to get her doctorate. 

The dread itself is enough to deter some people from attending or finishing a traditional four-year college. 

According to a data analysis from OneClass, a study site for students, the drop-out rate for all college students is 40%. However, 57% of students who drop out have student debt. This means those who need loans drop out more than non-borrowing peers. Not completing a degree may mean a significant difference in earning potential, making it harder for dropouts to continue to pay off their loans.

I think if you believe in higher education, you believe in student loan forgiveness to some extent. Higher education institutions should encourage student loan recipients to graduate. Lastly, I believe our federal government should invest and commit to every generation of students.

Student loan forgiveness shouldn’t be a litmus test to how progressive you are. Meaning, the more money the government lends to students shouldn’t be part of the “progressive agenda” but an “educational agenda.” 

Will student loans be unforgiving? Perhaps, student loan forgiveness isn’t the best option, yet I fail to hear of any concrete political discussion toward free public college. Is free college too socialist? Or should everyone just have a chance to attend a four year higher education? This oversimplification may not be substantial commentary, but in the eyes of a student who is thick with it, student loan forgiveness appeals to me. While in college, I am a student worker (someone who qualifies for a federal work study) and a full time student which loads huge amounts of distress on top of the impending doom of the working culture of today. 

For those who come from backgrounds of lower economic means or come from families without any higher education degrees, support to receive education is crucial. 

Robert Gailey, a business professor at PLNU, said our country should find ways to support college tuition for students, much like Europe and the rest of the world does. 

“I am in favor of some or all college debt [to be forgiven] for many students particularly from historically marginalized groups depending on the person’s circumstances and background which requires debate, discussion and deeper research,” Gailey said.

By: Anna Carlson