Student Loan Forgiveness is Trending Again. Do You Think it’s a Good Idea?
It took me until the age of 27 to finish college and even longer to pay off my debt. But I did, finally. If I were applying to college today, though, I'm not sure I would've been able to do it.
Today, student debt in the U.S. over $1.7 trillion. Consumer Reports reveals that "makes student loans the second-largest class of household debt in the country." Right behind mortgages and right above credit card or car loan debt. $1.7 TRILLION.
I was academically studious. I wasn't valedictorian level or anything, but I did my best to maintain a high GPA. I'd always known I'd wanted to attend college (though I don't think it's a necessary path to success.) I have always loved learning and school, generally, so it seemed like a natural progression for me.
Like many, I wasn't in a position to get financial help from my parents. From the time I was 16 years old and onward I had a job of some kind or another. It was revealed to me when I started applying to colleges that any means of my getting there would require me finding a way to get financial aid. Even getting THAT was fraught with difficulty.
And so, I waited tables and attended a few semesters. Then I'd get more full-time gigs and put my college journey on a back burner. Years would go by, and I would take more classes, and so on.
It wasn't until I was ready to begin my junior year that I was able to find a way, although continuing to work, to focus on finishing and achieving a BA. That was only possible because, due to hard work and a high GPA, I was able to procure a significant transfer scholarship to a small, private university. The rest was financial aid.
I can't tell you how grateful I was to walk that stage, graduating as what is considered a "non-traditional student," with to receive my degree, summa cum laude. I honestly wasn't sure I'd ever finish.
After college, it was back to work. I got a job at a radio station in the sales department--a job I'd held before. It wasn't long before I started receiving the notices to pay back my loan. I'd also recently gone through the end of a significant relationship and money was extra tight. I often wondered if I would need to get another job in the evenings just to make it all work.
Finally, after years of hard work, I paid it off. But yes, I'd like to see mercy shown to those still holding thousands of dollars, or tens of thousands, in debt.
Today I opened social media to find a student loan forgiveness trending again. Recently, 500 members of Congress were asked their opinions on this topic. Only 66 responded. CNBC reports the details of those findings here.
The fact that there is serious discussion about student loan forgiveness is celebrated by many. But others are outraged. And some still aren't sure what they think.
Those against the cancelling of student debt feel it isn't fair for some to have their college debt forgiven when they had to work for years to pay it off. Many have barely been able to pay it down, due to interest. Some will NEVER have it paid off.
Those for the cancelling of student debt, many of whom worked to pay theirs down, feel that just because they suffered through, that doesn't mean everyone else should. They argue along the line of "just because people used to get polio before the vaccine, does that mean that no one should be allowed to take it because they didn't get to?"
Another aspect to consider is how extraordinarily higher tuition has become. Even as recently as when I graduated, college was not as off the charts expensive as it is today. I'm not sure if I were looking at my options now if college would even be possible.
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