Can We Just Cancel Student Loans Instead Of Pausing Payments?

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On April 5, President Biden announced student loans would once again be frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The six push backs have been going on since 2020, with the Administration most recently halting them for millions until August 31, 2022. My question is why can’t we cancel student loans them altogether?

Currently, 46 million Americans have student loan debt, which amounts to $1.75 trillion. President Biden campaigned on the cancellation of $10,000 debt per borrower. Though the administration has cancelled $12.7 billion worth of loans and tried to help with loan forgiveness, it’s clear that it’s not a point of focus for Congress or the president. In fact, in January 2022, President Biden was asked directly if he still plans on canceling $10,000 worth of loans, and if so, when. He did not outright respond to the question.

The pause in loans and interest indicates the federal government is able to maneuver without the pound of flesh from former college students. If the U.S. Congress can embarrassingly approve to allocate $778 billion towards the military, I don’t think people’s purse strings need to be broken over college courses.

Furthermore, 30% of the people who have student loan debt have not graduated college. So the belief that those with loans should be in a financial state to shell out hundreds of dollars each month is unfounded. There are also people who are leaving school because of the threat of loans looming over them, meaning that educations are being stunted because of an unnecessary system. What are we saying to high school students and younger, or people of any age looking to further their education, if wealth and scholarships (which can come with their own set of issues) are the only ways a degree can be obtained without the stress of loans?

“Cancel student debt. All of it,” wrote Senator Bernie Sanders on Twitter yesterday.

The emphasis on student debt as a global health crisis rolls on shows the privileged, uniquely American obsession with “normality.” It also especially demonstrates the disposal of the lower class, who are already struggling with rising rent and all but forced returns to offices in states with lax mask and vaccination mandates. The country has prioritized the economy, while protecting those who earn the most and who are at this point the least affected by government-related financial decision. The fascination with the way things were are impeding us from exploring the way they could be.

I can’t help but wonder what life in September 2022 will look like. Is there a comprehensive plan to get borrowers readjusted after two years of loan pauses? Will the interest be cut initially? Will any semblance of government-provided credit repair be offered for those who’ve had their scores ravaged by unpaid payments? Wide-reaching cancellation would be preferred, but I’ll take more help that benefits the masses in the meantime.

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