Student loan debt problem can be fixed

Today, the institution that controls 92% of the $1.77 trillion in student loan debt is the federal government.

If you seek higher education to advance economically in America and have a rewarding career, with few exceptions, unless you are affluent, you are forced to use student loans.

Over 43 million Americans hold an average of $37,000 in student loan debt. In the 1970s, it was a little over $1,000.

Today, the average period for paying off student loans is 20 years. What does this do to folks? Why does the federal government treat its best and brightest in this manner? Why do colleges and universities get federal research grants, pay zero in taxes, hold endowments in the billions of dollars, and are able to charge up to $80,000 a year for a student to attend their school?

The young naive student does not even have a job yet, but is already accumulating debt.

If you fail to pay or on time, the damage to your credit score will cause you to pay high interest rates on any and everything you would want to buy in the future, including a home (mortgage) and car (loan), thus compounding your economic woes.

The fact that we have inadvertently used this same model to hurt our own children of all hues and nationalities is sad.

President Biden has been rebuked by the Supreme Court for the unconstitutionality of his debt forgiveness plan. He has also been unable to devise legislation that would be acceptable to Congress.

I do not profess to have the answer to this problem, but I do know what the long-term answer is not.

Simply eliminating the debt of everyone or even for a chunk of Americans is not the solution. It is a temporary fix. It buys votes.

Biden’s solution would allow the “student loan debt engine” to continue to entrap others for generations. His plan is not fair to those who did not take out student loans or did not go to college. The plan does not make those students who did pay off their loans feel any better. Simply stated, Biden’s approach is seriously flawed.

But that does not mean that there is not a problem. That does not mean that Congress, the private sector, and colleges and universities, along with the White House, should not work together to fix it.

We cannot continue to do to our talented idealistic youth what slave owners did to Black people after the Civil War.

Due to slave owners’ self-determined interest rates, Black people were saddled with debt for decades.

Well, the cost of a college education, graduate and professional schools are also out of control.

It places all but the wealthy at a significant disadvantage in life. The wealthy do not have to be concerned with a sizable chunk of their salaries going to student loans repayments, as they have no student loans. But everybody else does.

Worse yet, our best and brightest – not the wealthiest – often opt to go to a lesser school because it is what they can afford. They do this, but can still accumulate some modest debt.

We can fix the student loan debt problem. Unfortunately, students do not have high paid lobbyists advocating for them in Congress. And, unfortunately, the current agenda for Congress has little to do with helping our youth – the folks who will one day be tasked with steering our democracy into the future.


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