Student Debt: Freeloaders or victims?
I also struggled to get through college in the late sixties and early seventies. I started with night school classes and after many years finally finished my bachelor’s degree. My husband also went to night school to finish his degree, but it was paid for by his company. Those options are not available to kids today – college is just too darn expensive!
Student loans were supposed to help kids, but they just made college even more expensive. Kids are being scammed by unscrupulous schools and predatory lenders. Maybe even parents are responsible by not encouraging independence and pushing the need for a college education. I’m not sure kids realize that although the payments are postponed, the interest continues to accrue. Do lenders even consider the prior academic success or potential career path? Do colleges ensure that there will be employment options or that a student can actually graduate in four years?
I keep hearing that these kids must honor their commitments. But kids make bad decisions, and college loans are like a deal with the devil. It is one of the few bad decisions that can never be forgiven. Car loans can be repossessed. Mortgages can be foreclosed. Too much debt (even gambling debt) can be forgiven by bankruptcy, but student loans are excluded. Even the sacred vows of marriage can be broken through divorce. College loans can never be forgiven – and the interest keeps compounding.
Maybe forgiving the accrued interest and still holding students accountable for the original loan amount is one solution. Forgiving student debt for needed professionals like nurses or teachers is another. More work/study programs, free junior college and apprentice programs, more online courses, allowing transferable college credits are just some other ideas, but politicians must start working to find solutions to problems instead of striving for power.
I admire the students that have done well and are able to pay off their debt. I have compassion for the many that were scammed and never able to get out of the deal with the devil. I consider them “victims” and not “freeloaders.”
Ethel Lee Smith
Green Cove Springs
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