The interest rates on student loans is ridiculous….criminal actually, as are some of the stringent laws associated with student loan repayment.
However, I don’t know how I feel about the idea of forgiving student loans in its entirety. People took loans, knowing the cost of these loans and that they would have to be repaid. There is a responsibility in that, and as adults, you know that going into it. There’s something to be said for making wiser choices and being held accountable for those choices. I was fortunate enough to have my parents pay for undergrad (and I know that’s not everyone’s experience). However, I paid for grad school myself, by working full-time and going to school part-time and saving up for every coming semester. I purposely chose a cheaper state-school program specifically for that reason, so I could pay for it as I attended. The program I chose was also probably not as good as some of the other ones I had considered (to be fair), and I specifically looked for a place that offered a part-time option so that I could work and go to school at the same time. The difference in cost, vs. the difference in how much more attending a private school would allow me to make didn’t make chosing a more expensive option worthwhile. (Unless you’re looking at a top 10 program at one of the Ivy Schools, then you can probably make the argument that the name, along with the networking opportunities are worth the upfront cost. But that also depends on the type of degree. In business or law that might make sense, or if you’re pursuing a PhD in certain fields, but for most degree programs, if there is a cap as to how much you will realistically make regardless of where you attend school – it might not give you the return on the investment you initially thought). Anyway, I made sure I had no other debts and watched my spending and lived within my means. Yes, I would have liked to go full-time. Yes, I would have liked to go to a more prestigious private school vs. a state school, but in the long run, I just didn’t think the burden of debt was worth it.
Having said that, I DO think the interest rates should be reduced, or at least that should be forgiven, and if someone has already paid more than what was originally owed, they should be eligible for some sort of loan forgiveness. Likewise, those who can’t find jobs should be given amnesty until they do find employment of some sort…and again, the biggest culprit in this whole thing is the horribly high interest rates. It practically guarantees you never get out of debt. If the government could bail out wall street, at the very least, I think they could do that much for the next generation of workers in this country.