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“I feel like I kind of ruined my life by going to college,” said Jackie Krowen, 32, nursing student with a student loan balance of $152,000. These are words that most people would probably not even associate in the same sentence because is what most companies look at to see if you are qualified to work for them, but more and more people are feeling this same sentiment that it is just not worth the debt that you are putting yourself in. To give more context Jackie Krowen is a part of the 44 million Americans that owe a staggering 1.5 trillion in student debt loans. She even went on to say, “I can’t plan for an actual future.” Student debt for many is almost a lifelong debt that they never stop paying which alters their lives and relationships always lingering in the back of your mind like a monster lurking in the shadows waiting to strike as soon as you let your guard down.
Student loan debt can change the entire course of your life. Let’s take Saul Newton for example. In spring of 2010 Saul was a student at the University of Wisconsin. By the summer of the same year he was a rifleman in the U.S. Army. What could make this promising student in his 3rd year of school suddenly just enlist in the army? While this change is normal his reasons are what really jump out to me. He says that due to college tuition costs increasing and loans becoming more expensive to pay off he thought it was in his best interest to go to the army pay and come back. Even in the middle of a warzone where his unit was stationed he still made sure to pay his loans very month. One day while he and his unit were out on patrol their armored vehicle exploded due to a dirty bomb and some of his brothers in arms died. That could been him and the only thing he would had to show for it was……..Student Loan Debt. This is a viscous cycle where the loaners are making million of the people who can’t afford to go to college without offering any assistance
As I mentioned in the previous paragraph there is a cycle or wheel that which Student loans operate off that enables the government and private industries to profit off of. It is a million dollar industry were the students. The people paying all the money are never the winners of. The states cut back funding for higher education to put more towards healthcare, prisons and other federal costs. I response to this universities raised their tuition. This is where the students come in. To cover the schools increase in tuition your average student takes out maybe 2 loan s to help cover the cost for them to go to school. This in turn leads to them immediately having to get a job as ore and more loans are becoming ones that you have to start paying off immediately which lead to your average college student having a full time job while also trying to get through school each day. Any they wonder why college students drink and party so much. Because once they get out of school they are going to be working the rest of their lives to pay off loans, support their families, and try to live the lifestyle they want on their income which is being cut in half due to taxes and loans.
As a college student right now and I’m blessed to not owe any loans at the moment due to my parents savings and the Hope Scholarship, but I no friends of mine that have already begun to look for paying internship and or full time jobs so that they can supplement their money and start paying for their loans that will begin to start causing them problems very soon.
With the 2020 election approaching swiftly many candidates are beginning to go on the campaign trail. There have many political and social activists who have brought up the topic of Student Loan Debts to these candidates with a mixed reaction from them. Whether it is a plan to get rid of the debt all together or a plan to help pay of the debt quicker Student loans keep increasing and more and more people fall into the trap of paying for it. So the question is, why is the debt keep increasing? It would be a completely different ball game if there was fluctuation because that imply that it was being paid but even without the amount that all the debt holders are paying they barely put a dent into their debt. With new ideas coming forth from these candidates many hope that over the next few years that may be if not get rid of the Student Loan Debt, but help to make it easier to paying loans easier.
While would like to first preface my next topic by saying that I was and still are a very big supporter of our former President Barack Obama and the things that he was able to accomplish while he was in office. That being said the more that I read about Student Loans I have come across some startling information that would not paint him in the best of lights by students and former students who are still paying off their Student Loans. According to the Investor’s Business Daily, “ 27.3% of student loans are delinquent. Why does this matter? Because thanks to President Obama, about $1 trillion dollars of student loan debt is owed to the federal government.” Two years into his first term Obama terminated the federal guaranteed loan program this allowed private lenders and banks the opportunity to offer student loans at low interest rates to students.
Obama was able to convince the people that the government taking over the Student Loan Debt was a way to help the students and to save money, “why bear the costs of guaranteeing private loans,” he said, “when the government could cut out the middleman and lend the money itself?” The savings that he forecasted didn’t appear for the government or the students. The Congressional Budget Office that oversees the loan budget program just increased its 10-year forecast costs by $27 billion, or 30%. This and other programs that he extended and put into place while making it easier on the student also made them more lazy about trying to pay their loans off which in turn made more debt for them. Why wouldn’t they though when the, “pay as you earn” program, which limits loan payments to 10% of income, with any debt left after 20 years forgiven.” is in place.
Earlier in my paper I talked about how some of the candidates for the 2020 election and how they were dealing with topic of Student Loan Debt. How they each had differing opinions on how to go about handling the student loan debt or if it should even be messed with at all. However as I was doing my research there was a new candidate that’s plan for the removal of Student Loan Debt greatly intrigued me. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Senator Warren was a law professor for more than 30 years, including nearly 20 years as the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. The graduating class at Harvard twice recognized her with the Sacks-Freund Award for excellence in teaching. She taught courses on commercial law, contracts, and bankruptcy and wrote more than a hundred articles and ten books, including four national best-sellers. According to her website, “ Elizabeth Warren is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts on bankruptcy and the financial pressures facing middle class families.” She is an outspoken community leader that has made it her mission to help middle class in a world were middle class families are slowly fading away. She is widely credited for her creative ideas, political courage, and relentless pursuit of financial protection for the people that led to the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Former President Obama asked her to set up this new agency to hold Wall Street banks, financial institutions, CEO’s, and others accountable in case of misconduct, and to protect the people, the consumers of the institutions from financial tricks and traps often hidden in their mortgages, credit cards and other financial products like……. Student Loan Debt. Time Magazine even went as far as to call her The New Sheriff of Wall Street.
Warren’s plans for erasing a good portion of student-loan debt and providing free public college though was met large amounts of criticism and doubts from not only her competitors, but also her supporters. In fact a according to Yahoo Finance, “leading think tank described presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren’s massive student debt cancellation plan as “regressive” and “expensive,” arguing that it wouldn’t help low-income borrowers much relative to higher-income counterparts.” While I do agree that the undertaking of a project such as this would be very expensive I do not see any thing regressive about it. Student Loan Debt is very unique in the aspect that we choose this debt in order to help us better ourselves. This debt has crippled the lives of many people who spend the rest of their lives trying to pay off a debt that only grows bigger over time. Senator Warren’s office pushed back against the study, telling Yahoo Finance:
“This is a highly progressive proposal — we’re taxing the fortunes of people with over $50 million in wealth to provide student loan debt cancellation to 42 million lower-income and middle-class Americans,”. Warren’s plan would be to erase $50,000 in Student Loan Debt for every student/former student whose income is below $100,000. That $50,000 amount “phases out by $1 for every $3 in income above $100,000.” So a person who earns $130,000 would get $40,000 of debt cancelled, while a person who earned $160,000 would get $30,000 off. Coming back to her point about helping the middle to lower class households who earn more than $250,000 would not qualify for the program.
Throughout my essay I have only talked about the downside of taking out student loans, how are future leaders want to fix the student loan problem, or how former world leaders have tried and failed in the past to fix the issue. What about the other side though. Those that see Student Loans as a good thing. Here we have the story of Devon Delfino. Delfino is a first generation college student. He like all kids are taught that having a college degree was ideal for getting a good job. It did not help that he was a family that was not particularly well off so the how he was going to pay for college was a constant in the back of his head. In his own words he said, “ Taking out student loans didn’t seem like a choice to me — It was imperative, a fact of life. I always knew I’d have to make sacrifices and work hard for my education. And I thought the debt would ultimately be justified. As I college student myself that will eventually have to use a student loan to help pay for the rest of my schooling. However, I cannot help but wondering is it even worth it in the end? Devon Delfino, first generation college student, freelance writer(author of this article by the way) agrees that while student loans can be oppressive and a large daunting task every penny is worth for the upward mobility it provides men and women from low income homes.
Whether or not you are for the continued use of student loans or of the mindset that Students Loan Debt should be cleared and college should be free what people can agree with is that higher education should be accessible to all people and not denied because they do not have the necessary funds. While I do not know what the future holds for Student Loan Debt I hope that their conclusion is a compromise that can appease if not satisfy both sides.
- Delfino, Devon. “I Took out Student Loans and It Was the Best Decision I Made – Here’s Why.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 19 July 2018, www.businessinsider.com/taking-out-student-loans-was-the-best-decision-i-made-2018-7.
- “About Elizabeth | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.” About Elizabeth | About | U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, www.warren.senate.gov/about/about-elizabeth.
- Cooper, Preston. “Betsy DeVos Is Wrong About The ‘Government Takeover’ Of Student Loans.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Nov. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/prestoncooper2/2018/11/30/betsy-devos-is-wrong-about-the-government-takeover-of-student-loans/#5165b9824990.
- Swaminathan, Aarthi. “Elizabeth Warren Hits Back at Study Criticizing $640 Billion Student Debt Plan.” Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo!, 27 Apr. 2019, finance.yahoo.com/news/warren-student-debt-plan-191835379.html.
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