Should Biden eliminate student loans?

By Cynthia Solis

Everyone should support Biden’s plan to eradicate student loan debt, even if it is just a small percentage, because it will benefit borrowers. 

Students around the country make the conscious decision each year to pursue higher education, whether it is to better their lives or learn something new. Higher education is already becoming a hot commodity, and a rare one at that. 

As the years pass, school acceptance rates get small making it that much more challenging. The least of a student’s worries should be on how they will afford this “luxury.” 

Except, many students have to either take a gap year to work and save for school or get into thousands of dollars in debt. 

During the 2020 presidential election, President Joe Biden’s campaign pushed for the commitment to broad student loan forgiveness, saying, during a town hall in Florida, that he would eliminate student debt “if you come from a family [making less] than $125,000 and went to a public university.”

According to the Brookings Institution, student loan debt makes up the second-biggest share of household debt. Using data from 2019, the Federal Reserve’s 2020 U.S. Household Report, showed that 45 million Americans have student loan debt totaling over $1.7 trillion. This means that each borrower, on average, will have debt between $20,000 and $24,999. 

People of color and low-income graduates are negatively affected by this, encountering a never-ending cycle of long-term debt, owing more than the initial amount that was borrowed. 

Canceling student debt will have a severe economic impact. Although Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer pushed for a plan to wipe out $50,000, even eliminating $10,000 can save $15.3 million borrowers, completely removing their federal student debt. 

As a recent high school graduate looking to pursue higher education, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to getting my letters of acceptance or rejections, but after they came in, I was relieved to know that I got into my dream schools. Still, a new problem arose— how will I pay for it? 

I decided to go to the University of San Francisco; I placed my deposit and spoiled myself and my parents with some school merchandise to show off our spirit. 

It wasn’t until August 2020 that I was faced with the genuine problem of paying almost $20,000 to register for my classes, and that was that I received about $30,000 in scholarships and grants.

The idea of getting into that much debt for general education online classes was very discouraging, so I decided to rescind my acceptance and immediately applied to ELAC’s College Promise Program. 

Thankfully, programs like these exist to help students, but how to afford an education shouldn’t be on a student’s mind because it adds unnecessary stress. 

By canceling student loan debt, there are dozens of benefits. Some major ones include being able to start a life without being in debt. 

Seeing that student loan debt is the second-highest form of consumer debt, without this burden people would be able to start their life after college without having to pay the federal government with the hope of barely paying off just the interest owed. 

Not only that, but canceling student loan debt would help narrow the racial wealth gap. Many student loan borrowers of color would benefit from the support of student loan forgiveness. 

According to the website, Color of Change, “Black graduates [hold] $25,000 more in student loan debt than white graduates.” 

It would also allow for Black and Latino borrowers to improve their financial security and experience wealth gains. 

If you were to look at student loans on a federal level, Vice-Chair and Associate Professor of Economics at ELAC, Dr. Murniz Allen Coson, Ph.D., said, “The federal government can easily cancel all student loans. The government is set up to take on debt. 

“It has given out a couple of trillion dollars for student loans in the past decades, so they should work on forgiving it since they are equipped to make it disappear. They will also be able to focus on other programs such as Medicare.” 

With programs such as the Los Angeles College Promise, Dr. Coson, Ph.D., says that it is worth continuing and growing the program on a state level because “it is all about equity.” 

As an economics professor, he wants “to make sure students have access to higher education but society forces young adults to pick what they want to do with their lives at an early age and it is too much pressure. 

“So a solution to this is to attend community colleges and expose yourself to different disciplines. By doing so, professors can plant a seed, and students are then able to take these newfound interests and find mentors to be later able to transfer.” 

There is a popular saying floating around social media, “Eat the Rich,” which represents standing up to those in power and holding them accountable on behalf of the less fortunate. 

The phrase was first said by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in 1838 but gained popularity again on Twitter as there is a clear class struggle. 

Recently, Congress has been scrutinized for bailing out corporations and giving breaks to billionaires. 

Canceling student loan debt will help out “regular” people, allowing student loan borrowers to get a similar type of financial relief that is constantly being afforded to America’s 1%. 

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