Thoughts on cancelling student debt

UC Santa Barbara lagoon
One of the most beautiful campuses ever. UC Santa Barbara where my son went to school.

I want to know what your thoughts are about cancelling student debt. The current administration is considering cancelling $10,000 per debt holder. Some are pushing for $50,000.

Personally, I believe a contract is a contract. If you cancel a loan for college, why stop there? Why not cancel mortgages, car loans and credit card debt? Of course, for those loans there is the option to file for bankruptcy. But not with student loans. Maybe that law should be overturned?

What does this say to those who chose to enlist in the military to help pay for their education? Or those who chose community college not to mention those who paid their loans? What about people who entered into trades like electricians, contractors, plumbers and hair dressers? Should they be paying for a doctor or teacher who has a ton of debt?

The point is the debt doesn’t magically go away. It gets passed on to the rest of us. Many universities have huge foundations. I’m not against the institutions forgiving debt. They could do it.

What do you think? If you disagree with me, please let me know what I’m missing. I truly want to know other points of view. What solutions do you suggest for overwhelming student loan debt?

27 thoughts on “Thoughts on cancelling student debt

  1. I had student loan debt and I had to pay it off on my own. Granted that was a long time ago, but still…my two kids have loans and they have to pay them off. I don’t want to seem obtuse, but why is this a thing now? You have debt. You pay your debts or you don’t incur them.

  2. I agree with you, but we recently had something strange happen. My husband went back to school to get his masters. He has 1 class left! We are paying as he goes, registering and then paying class by class. But twice now, he’s signed up for a class and entered his payment information (everything done on-line) and we never got the charge. He had to work to figure out why. It wasn’t readily apparent or even easy to figure out that they had extended him loans on both occasions (it was easier to solve the second time). But why on earth, when they had his payment information, and he never applied for a loan… ???? It makes me angry. I can see how some students/parents get in over their heads. The schools are not being up front with what they are doing. I think there should be a reset, but not in paying off loans. I think the billing prices and systems need an overhaul first.

    • That is really strange. I agree with you on the billing systems. The price of colleges have gotten so out of hand, I think because of the loans. My daughter went to school on a swim scholarship and every semester she’d get a late payment notice. She would call or I would call and it was always an error, since her tuition was covered.

  3. I don’t know much about the education system but don’t parents pay for their children to go to school when young? I know I have to pay whatever debts I incur. To many young adults get to much given to them and don’t understand responsibility. I would hope there would be good reasons for the debt forgiveness and it would be a case-by-case basis.

  4. Our daughter has about $10,000 in student loans for the first two years that she went to college. She was lucky enough to get grants that covered the last two years because of my husband’s disability. She has been setting aside the money she would need to pay it back since the pause on repayment. If she has to pay them back she will be ready for that. I think that under normal circumstances, yes, if you take out a loan, it’s your responsibility but because the pandemic hit things so hard, I have no problem with forgiving some of the student debts. Another option might be to make the loan companies restructure with lower interest rates or no interest for a time. I’ve always felt the cost of education was too high, so yes, the universities could take over some of that debt too.

  5. I think that there could be more lower cost as well as creative work-study options for students. Corporations could also take on a bit of that – if a student works half time and goes to school half time then maybe a company could pay for tuition and a stipend. If there were more options, more students would be able to make the decision to take on less debt without compromising the quality of their education..I can see where this kind of overwhelming burden can weigh down a whole population of students who don’t have any sort of a support system to help with that.

  6. No cancelling student debt unless the person cancelling is willing to teach or do some other necessary work for a period that covers the amount so to speak. Especially as most kids do not graduate…they waste the money and opportunity

  7. Many teachers I know don’t have a ton of debt. There are lots of student loan cancellations out there for those who work 5 years at title one schools. I am at a title one school now. It is rough! I am well aware of why I left the public schools. The money for teachers has definitely improved, most of us don’t have lots of debt as we are mostly pragmatic; however, teaching is really a calling that must ‘call’ out to you as you carry work home weekends and holidaze with you. However, they do offer loan dismissal if you survive.

  8. I agree with your comment, “Many universities have huge foundations. I’m not against the institutions forgiving debt. They could do it.”

  9. I had student loans and I worked to pay them off on time. It was hard, but I did it. It was a big day when I was finally rid of that bill. I understand why many people question the need to reduce student loans.

    However, I do have sympathy for the move. Have you looked at the amounts that colleges are charging nowadays? The cost is out of this world. Here’s just one college. I just looked it up: The undergraduate tuition & fees at Ohio State University, a typical state land-grant institution, was $11,936 for Ohio residents and $35,019 for out-of-state students for 2021-2022.

    Many of these public universities were created with the public good in mind. I believe in capitalism, but college costs have skyrocketed with little oversight. If those costs are rising, then we need to find ways to reduce the burden on our students.

    And yes, I know it’s a choice. Students are making these choices, but how do encourage a student to go into teaching or social work or certain medical positions if the cost is going to be out of hand. We’ll never some of these needed roles in society. I don’t have an answer, I just know that we have to discuss and find solutions that make sense for society as as a whole.

    • I think the loans have caused costs to skyrocket. Also administrations have quadrupled in size. My son graduated about six years ago from UC Santa Barbara. It was more than $30k a year and that’s a public state school. My daughter got an athletic scholarship and chose a school that was very affordable. She could have gone to private pricey schools. It was her choice. As for encouraging students to choose teaching as a career, someone in the comments said that Title 1 schools help with the debt after five years. I think a lot of employers could help out. Plus the universities could also.

      • It’s a tough situation. My daughter is paying back her student loans bit by bit. My youngest son just accepted his acceptance to a college in another state and thanks to merit awards, will be paying less than if he had stayed in state and gone to our big state school. It’s a huge game by the colleges and loan companies . . . I worry that many kids and parents, who are not as well versed on the game, get taken in and end up with some pretty hefty interest rates and loan amounts. It’s also a very touchy subject . . . I’m not sure there’s an easy way out. Thanks for raising the question. Love your blog.

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