Great Debate: Should student loan debt be forgiven?


Debt. That is one word that a large part of American citizens understand and share. We go from innocent children to college where we accumulate hundreds and thousands of dollars in student loans, and then on to be full fledged adults with a mortgage to keep us in debt for the rest of our lives. That is not even counting any credit card, car or other debt that you may acquire throughout your lifetime. Even if a person was able to accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of going through life without gaining any personal debt, there is still the American government’s 30 trillion dollar deficit hanging over their head. So, it does make sense that the idea of trying to rid society of at least a little of the burden of debt would come into question, particularly the question of student loan debt. After all, how is it helpful to the American economy if citizens are handicapped by debt before they even have a job? The problem is, though, that the recent “solution” to student debt of student loan forgiveness really only makes the overall dilemma of debt worse for the American people.

Just to start, the cost of a student loan forgiveness program would be tremendous. A study by Brookings Institute, a nonprofit organization with a reputation for being accurate, demonstrates that if every student was forgiven up to $50,000 as suggested by Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, the program would cost the American government about one trillion dollars. Even if every student only received $10,000 of student debt forgiveness as suggested by President Biden, the cost would still be about $373 billion. For a government that is already in debt for over $30 trillion, the idea of spending massive amounts of more money just does not make sense, especially when we consider the true source of that money. That source is the American public.

As previously mentioned, the average American adult is well acquainted with debt. About 64.8% of the American population has a mortgage, which is a word from Old French that literally means “death pledge.” That is in addition to the $1,385 that the average American already owns in credit card debt. So, with bills to pay and food to buy, most Americans already dread needing to put aside money for taxes. e A common and  regular complaint that can be heard every tax season is that taxes are high because of both state and federal taxes. But, a student loan forgiveness program would raise the tax requirement of Americans even higher. Even Americans that did not go to college or who have already slaved over paying off their own student loans, would suddenly be forced to pay for debts that are not their own. No one would be safe from the burden of student loans. A student may have their loans “forgiven” in college;  however, they will then be forced to pay off the money that was needed to “forgive” not only their own debts, but the debts of every other person who decides that they want a college degree. Student loan forgiveness does not “forgive” or magically make student debt disappear. In reality, it just disguises the debt in the form of taxes and makes people pay the debts of others without gaining anything in return.

Setting aside the moral issues with forcing innocent people to pay for money that they did not spend or benefit from, how can the American government expect the people of America to be able to afford the additional taxes that would be required to pay for student loan forgiveness?

“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible for students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off the student loan debt of an elite few—a plan that is estimated to cost the American taxpayer more than $2,000 each or $600 billion total, a price the people of our states cannot afford,” said 22 US governors in a letter that they wrote to President Biden expressing their concerns about his plans for student loan forgiveness.

Yes, something needs to be done to deal with the problem of student debt. But, a student loan forgiveness program is not the solution; it is part of the problem. Why, instead of discussingstudent debt, don’t we as a society find a way to target the problem at the source and find a way to reduce the cost of college? That way college is more affordable, and something that would encourage more people from a variety of backgrounds and economic classes, to attend college.



In this trolley scenario, you have two choices: pull an emergency lever to redirect the 21 ton train and save five innocent victims tied to the tracks or let it brutally slaughter the poor souls. The answer here may be clear, but consider this– would it be fair to those who have already been killed?

This hypothetical is silly and its logic faulty, yet has been applied to the student loan debt debate for years. To cite unfairness as a con against forgiving student loan debt is almost laughable. Roughly 50 years ago, in-state undergraduate students paid $630 per year to attend a UC. Accounting for today’s inflation (a rate of 663.6%, according to, it would cost only $4,810.67 per year to attend one of California’s world renowned universities. In 2022, many in-state UCLA undergraduates must pay an estimated $36,787 per year. Calculated using 2022’s rates, the Baby Boomer workforce paid roughly $19,243 for their degrees which have been long paid off. The Millennial and Gen Z work forces, however, must pay $147,148 for their Bachelors degrees.

In addition to outrageous inflation rates, more jobs require degrees. According to a publication by Georgetown University from 2020, it is estimated that roughly 65% of jobs require post-high school degrees. With this number slowly rising, it would be beneficial for student loans to be forgiven. As more jobs require post-high school degrees, the need for college increases. As the need for college increases, so does debt in the United States. But, as more people graduate from college, more people join the workforce. The benefit forgiving student loans would have on the overall economy of the United States is near undeniable.