The idea of “forgiving” student loans is a shamelessly craven attempt to purchase votes. It makes me beyond furious.

The Frederick News-Post published a detailed analysis on this topic (“Supreme Court loan case: the arguments assessed,” Feb. 28), but it’s not that complicated. It’s simple.

(42) comments


New York had tuition free at state colleges without any requirements. Got too expensive, so they stopped it. Still giving free tuition is a good way to go and it does not pay for books, room and board or other fees.


I agree Dick.

There are really two separate issues:

* Should public universities be free (for at least 4 years)?

* Should some or all student loans be partially or entirely forgiven?

Other countries manage to have free college education (K > 16). In fact, as someone here pointed out, some European countries allow *anyone*, even foreigners, to attend college for free.

If they can do it, we can. There should be some stipulations though -- like a minimum GPA; and means testing. If a person or family in the upper middle class or above, they do no need to receive anything for free. Remember, there is a cost to everything. If person in the top 5-10% (say) attends college for free, the rest of us taxpayers are footing the bill. But free college for most people, sure.

While I support the idea of free college education, I do not support the idea of a retroactive, back door approach to achieving it -- summarily paying off $10,000 to $20,000 of debt (some say forgive all student debt) for most borrowers. Free college = good, but blindly forgiving debt is not right. Even though the current proposal has some nominal means testing, a) the income levels are too high, and b) income changes -- sometimes dramatically. A law school grad might be working at Starbucks this month -- but next month she lands that cushy associate position at a corporate law firm.

I do have sympathy for most people who have student loan debt. I outlined my compromise elsewhere but basically the idea is that there is no loan forgiveness up front; people pay as they are able -- a percentage based on income; and if there is any balance remaining at age 65, THEN it is forgiven. That means if the law school grad works for a non-profit her entire career, she might pay little or nothing toward her loan -- if she takes that position with the high-powered firm she might pay (say) 15% toward her debt.


One thing that hopefully almost everyone can agree on is that, for those that are cut out for it, a college education is very valuable.

Many people would further agree that going forward K > 16 education should be free, with some stipulations regarding GPA, and means testing.

Currently though, that is not the case.

It seems that some people would like to make college free retroactively. That is not how things work, but if we were to do that, wouldn't the fair thing be to reimburse everyone who has ever gone to college for 100% of their expenses? Simply forgiving currently outstanding loans seems grossly unfair.

See my other post for my compromise solution. It essentially has people pay a reasonable amount as they are able. Poor/low income folks pay $0. The well-off pay a significant percentage of their income. Any balance left at (say) age 65 is then forgiven.

That's between the extremes of forgiving ALL student debt regardless of income or family net worth, and demanding that all debtors pay 100% of their loan no matter what their financial situation is.


I've written before that student debt is just the symptom of the larger problem: the cost of college. I know that as a poor 3rd world country, the US can't afford free college. But a lot of other countries can...mostly in Europe. And some of those countries offer free tuition to ANYONE--including US citizens. And in many of those countries, university education is in English. And--put your fingers in your ears conservatives--some countries not only pay tuition, they GIVE the students money for room and board plus some spending money. The horror!

I'll also remind my readers that there is this wild, undiscovered country to the north called "Canada." Somehow this poor undeveloped country is able to offer tuition to the U. of Toronto for about US$ 5,000 a year to Canadians; US$ 34,700 to foreigners. Meanwhile, the U. of Michigan (to choose a comparable school in terms of size, quality, and geographic location) charges $16,700-18,836 a year to Michigan residents. Out-of-state costs $55-59,000 a year. Note that U of T tuition is less than ⅓ U of M. They must be crazy beyond that border.

But once again, all this boils down us "us" vs. "them." To the letter writer, the people who took out student loans they have trouble re-paying are "them." To say the letter writer is mean spirited is charitable.

This is a good time to give some thought to two Biblical passages. The first is from Deuteronomy:

At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.

This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.

You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your brother owes you.

However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,

if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.

For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you.

If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.

Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.

Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: "The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near," so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

And if you don't like the Old Testament, here is Matthew 18:

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.

In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.

He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’

Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded.

But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.

Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.

Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’

Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”


[thumbup][thumbup]Mam, and tuition continues to increase way beyond inflation. Whatever we are doing, regarding college tuition, is not working.


Even people who are in favor of blanket loan forgiveness must admit that it would not be fair or equitable.

Some people have already paid off their loan(s).

Some never had a loan because they saved money to pay tuition, and/or their (lower middle class) parents scrimped and saved.

Some just used the loan to fund a 4 or 5 year long party, and may have never earned a degree.

The fact that the *purpose* of student loans is one most people approve of should be beside the point. Otherwise, it begs the question, what about other 'righteous' reasons to borrow money? For example, we have a friend who worked for the USPS. She had very little money but her mother needed to go to a nursing home so she put tens of thousands of dollars on her credit cards. That meant her plans to buy a house were crushed. Shouldn't her cards be paid off? There are any number of examples like that.

This would work much better:

* No pile of money up front.

* Borrowers are required to pay a modest percentage of their income (above a certain low threshold ) toward their loan(s).

* The percentage could cover a range, say 5% to 15%, depending upon income level.

* The idea would be to have borrowers pay off as much of their debt as they reasonably can.

* If, by say age 65 the loan(s) is not paid off, any remaining balance is forgiven.

That way, we aren't handing out $10K to $20K (plus the interest that would have accrued on that amount) to people who may be making a large salary in a year or two -- say, a recent law school grad that is currently working as a waitress but lands a position at a corporate law firm 6 months from now.

The only fair way to do this is to have people pay what they can afford to pay. Those working menial jobs for less than a living wage cannot be expected to pay off their loans. Those earning solid 6-figure salaries certainly can.

Pro-Choice/Privileged W. Woman

So someone that works for USPS should not be able to have tens of thousands of dollars in credit in the first place(you should have seen the amount of credit, credit card companies were willing to give my children when they were in college, there should be some type of regulations on credit card companies giving unlimited amounts of money to students that don't know any better, but there isn't).......and she should not have to go in debt tens of thousands of dollars to take care of her mother...but because of our health care system she probably had no choice? She is kinda stuck...she can declare bankruptcy and her credit card debt will be cleared...but it will take her about 7 years to recover her she isn't going to be buying a house anytime soon, how long will it take her to pay off tens of thousands in credit card debt?...should she have her credit card debt forgiven, well she kinda does have an out if she declares bankruptcy. Medical debt is a big reason many people declare bankruptcy. Should she have her cards paid off? Perhaps...She is a victim of the banks not being regulated, and the health care system not being run by the government...

But see with student loans they cannot be wiped out by declaring bankruptcy....but even if they could it would be a risk the student would have to it worth having no credit for up to 7 years, remember you need credit to buy the big stuff like a car and house and you need good credit when you are applying for a job, many companies run credit checks. you need good credit to rent an apartment to get a good car insurance you need good credit. The lenders know this... The lenders lobbied for student loans to hang around the borrows necks for the rest of their life....they knew they were lending money that was risk free for them...they knew they would be paid back no matter I don't see why we are okay when the banks get bailed out but not okay when people need to get bailed out?


Any student loan bailout is going to be problematic. Who gets what and who will be unfairly treated. And it will only exacerbate the underlying problems.

I was fortunate enough to have the GI Bill which was a good supplement.

The answer or solution is elusive. Here is an idea. The GI bill pats after service or during service. What about a program that pays off college loans acquired while serving. Enlist. Have a government program in place that restructures your loan and pays down your loan while serving your country.


Amend your idea to include civic service in communities after high school and I'm completely in favor it. Been advocating for a national service requirement for years, it encourages mixing with different people and understanding America better.

Pro-Choice/Privileged W. Woman

So then who here is okay with the banks being bailed out? You know those two banks in CA? I'm not okay with it...because there were regulations in place to stop it from happening...but then the banks lobbied and got those regulations they failed....and needed to be bailed out...

Students loans are not regulated enough...see what happened was, lenders, which are generally banks, saw these students were in need of cash to pay for college, they were so kind and would lend anything to anyone...because there were no regulations in who they could lend to...and with us telling our youth, you need to go to college or else...We applied for students loans which were not tied to reality...because there were no regulations keeping students in it's the students who need to be bailed out, you know because there are no regulations on operate in reality...

You know capitalism at it's finest...but when we apply capitalism to's not okay? But it's the same exact why are you all complaining about Biden forgiving student loan debt? Just curious...


College tuition and loans went off the rails in the 80s, the interest rates under Reagan was 9%.

That and the requirements to get a job skewed towards a mandatory 4 year degree just to get hired, that left a lot of students in a bind.

So I have sympathy for some who have student loans that they may never be able to repay.

I don’t have a problem with some student loan relief, let’s make everyone who received PPP loans pay them back with interest, why should they have their loans forgiven and not students.

Pro-Choice/Privileged W. Woman

Fred did you notice we had the same exact thought at the same exact time...3:27 pm?

I don't have a problem either with student loan relief....I am just relieved my two children got through college unscathed by not to much debt...they had some but not more than we could handle...we got lucky....and it could have turned out differently.

I care that other families are lucky's capitalism at work..I believe in capitalism...

Pro-Choice/Privileged W. Woman

Last thought here and it may blow your mind but I doubt about we regulate capitalism a tad more? Just sayin.......


Scary? Or just common sense and fairness


Joe Biden buying votes with our money. Looks like it may explode in his face. Sure hope so.


Right on Veritas - if you can't afford it, don't do it or find a cheaper alternative! It's common freakin' sense!! I coach HS seniors all the time that going to a community college is a wise decision before going to a four year school and possible having to take loans they or their parents can't afford. again, this is common sense, not rocket science!


Go to a college you can afford, get an education and get a job. Perhaps I should go out and buy a house I can't afford in hopes the will forgive my mortgage. The author is right, just scam to buy votes.


Right on!!


I'm of two minds on this issue - and I paid my graduate loans and worked during the day while attending school full time. My tuition at UMD in the mid 1980's was $757.50 per semester, I wrote the check out of my construction wages. My daughter's last semester was over 5k. Just tuition. That system is broken and the schools have leverage it on the student's and parent's back with government and private loans. Something has to change. The vast amount of trade school fraud with these programs as well is criminal, the students end up fleeced.

However, a broad brush doesn't handle this correctly in my opinion - targeted relief for those who enter mid income positions that have community applications should be the first tier of it, some of that exists in Teach for America, it should be expanded, greatly.

Where I really think there needs to be reform is in the Bankruptcy Code, after a certain number of years - the schools need skin in the game here to lower costs and a clawback from the institutions is the right way to handle such a bankruptcy. It's completely unfair to allow private business to discharge billions of dollars, especially when it receives tax incentives, tax breaks, etc.

It's a nuanced issue - the author is arguing it simplistically. It's not that simple.


[thumbup]Piedmont Something “nuanced” happened between then and now. Whereas my hus had loans to go to Drexel (that my dad insisted be paid off before marriage, so I had no engagement ring for ten years), I went to business school, savings and loan school and real estate school, with expenses reimbursed by employers. Speedwriting I learned through a correspondence course. That was not reimbursed because I did it in the hope of improving my opportunities. Today the jobs I held within companies as I moved up either “prefer” college degrees or outright demand them. In my spare time, I was designing and maintaining web sites before there were wizards. I bought a book. Today my application would probably be eliminated within minutes. On the other hand, I doubt I’d have wanted to endure 4 years of preparing for anything I did. But I always felt I controlled my options. Eventually I went to college, learning what I wanted to pay for. These days, nope. Not as simple as that.


Guy kids going to college are using the new math - no wonder they can't figure it out


What is the "new math"?

Guy T. Ashton

Your choice, your responsibilty. Stop whining about interest rates and the effect on your quality of life. Nobody held a gun to your head to get a loan, stop expecting everyone else to bail you out.


That restaurant meal analogy was the worst analogy I have ever read. Perhaps a bit more experience in writing would have helped. I'm assisting my grandchildren in their college expenses and they are applying for student loans without regard to whether or not the loan may be partially forgiven. The structure of student loans needs to be reengineered to provide a better exit capability for the student. When my grandson graduates and buys that restaurant I'll make sure your tab is picked up and that you are provided a "link" to better analogy writing.


Oh. 😔 That was patronizing.


Exit capability? Enlighten me please!


I think the point was that declaring bankruptcy on student loans is not permitted.


Lynn, there is a difference between an expense and an investment. A college educated work force is an investment in the future. A college degree was long ago determined to be a requirement to enter and stay in the middle class. You cannot blame young people for investing what we told them was a requirement.

I agree that no help should be given to students who chose to go to a private as opposed to a state college. Expensive private colleges exist mainly to give parents bragging rights. The parents can pay for it.


Plumbers, electricians, hvac, etc., can easily earn more than many many degrees. One should make wise choices in life to succeed. I am amazed when someone who went to college says "I didn't realize how much I would have to pay back ..." That says they really weren't college material to begin with.


Yes, and there are schools and training programs for trades. The financial end of that is far worse and more of a scam than college loans. My son went to UTI, and he will likely never pay off the loan.


I have never heard a college attendee say they didn't realize how much it cost or what they would have to pay back IF they took loans... More nonsense.


Then obviously you don't get out very much, huh? Hahahaha!!


"For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, direct and wrong."


Look up the principle of Occam's Razor.


Higher education is not comparable to buying lunch. Education changes lives and provide opportunity. While you may have been able to pay for college for yourself and your children, many young people has no option but to take student loans. And then the interest accumulates over time making these loans difficult to pay off. It's complicated not simple.


For so many people, the interest on student has ruined their lives. They may have long ago paid off the amount they borrowed, but still owe more than that in interest.

Guy T. Ashton

And for so many more, a student loan provided a pathway to a good career and prosperity. Those people sucked it up, drove a used car, didn’t buy high end electronics, and delayed this or that purchase. But they made it, they paid it off. They understood math and could comprehend the amount borrowed and what would be required to pay it back. Math isn’t that hard. Especially if you went to college.


I just posted how after paying off student loans we saved up ten years for goals including my engagement ring because MD was way more expensive than we assumed (we were 19 and 23). We were in our second purchased home that we are still in since 1980. Almost from the start, people inquired, even suggested, moving somewhere “better.” 🤷🏻‍♀️ With time passing, this is a very convenient location to have. I guess some might think we are just “sucking it up,” living here. Dinosaurs live where they want. Does anyone ever delay a purchase like a ring anymore. It may all be a mindset gone by.


Yah, but maybe they hadn't taken the college math classes until after they took out the loans... But seriously, I would not be against forgiveness of some of that interest. And yes I know that taxpayers would be the ones paying for that - and no, I am not going to donate to them outside of taxes, but in the end I think giving desperate people some relief probably gets paid back with dividends in the end - especially if they are not good at math.


If they can prove their desperateness, then I'm ok with some relief. Ya gotta have some compassion.


Sometimes you can’t get by on the cheap electronics especially if you are using it for school or work also a used car only gets you so far depending upon how much you drive it. I am not saying that you have to have the latest technology or even a brand new car but even stuff that is 2 or 5 years old is expensive


Sounds like poor planning to me.

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