Should the United States Government Forgive Student Loans?

In the past week, the student loan company Navient agreed to forgive $1.7 billion in private student loans. The topic of whether or not the United States government should forgive the loans it has given out to students has long been discussed. The recent move by Navient will surely spark conversations again on this issue.

Those who argue that the United States government should forgive student loans contend that the amount of student debt that currently exists is crippling to borrowers. They claim that the current amount of student debt owed to the federal government—around $1.6 trillion—is slowing down the American economy by requiring individuals to spend so much of their money on interest payments rather than on goods and services. This side may also argue that individuals with large amounts of student loans are unable to purchase homes and save for retirement, which will lead to serious financial issues for them later in life. Finally, this side claims that the federal government has an obligation to consider the welfare of American citizens, and that it should take actions like canceling student debt in order to improve the financial state of the country.

Those who argue that the United States government should not forgive student loans contend that borrowers voluntarily took on their loans, and that they should be required to pay them back. They claim that if student loans are not paid back, the American taxpayers are ultimately the ones who will need to pay to make up for that lost money. This side may also argue that while individuals with a large amount of loans may not be able to buy homes or adequately save for retirement, to forgive student loans would encourage financial irresponsibility. They contend that it would not be in the general interest of the country to forgive loans because it would encourage future students to take out large loans because they assume the government will forgive them at some point.

So, what do you think? Should the United States Government Forgive Student Loans? Students may answer Yes, it should; No, it should not; or a nuanced answer in between!

Note: Ideal Think the Vote responses include the following:

-Address the question asked in a thoughtful and meaningful manner

-Use cited facts and constitutional arguments when appropriate to support their answers

-Are expressed in cohesive sentences and are free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors

-They address counter-arguments and opposing concerns in a respectful manner

-They organize their answer in a manner that flows logically and reads clearly

Current Standings:
Yes: 40%
No: 60%
  • Caroline from Pennsylvania

    Student loans make social mobility impossible. It infringes upon any chance for young adults to climb out of their current position. It feeds the cycle. You must get a degree to get a job with a high enough salary to support yourself as well as a job with comprehensive benefits to provide health coverage. Among all of this, you are forced to be paying off years of loans to get that job in the first place. It is endless, and it is a system that only benefits the upper class.

    [read less]

    Student loans make social mobility impossible. It infringes upon any chance for young adults to climb out of their current position. It feeds the cycl…

    [read more]
    0
  • Ashley from California

    Forgiving student loans places the burden of payment on tax payers. Those tax payers may not have a college education. They may have chosen to take an alternate path into the work force. They are not responsible to pay for the education of people who made the choice to knowingly take loans. In many places junior college is free. People could avoid loans by attending junior college. Another group that is punished is those who planned ahead and paid for their own college education. Why should those who worked their way through school to come out with no loans be on the hook for the loans of people who “took the easy path?” The decision to take loans for an education is not required. There is no reason tax payers who do not benefit from paying the loans of other people should be forced to take on that burden. The government already pays for many services, with the increasing debt from current spending levels, the government can not afford to add to their expenses with another welfare program. It is not equitable or reasonable to ask everyone to pay for the education of a few.

    [read less]

    Forgiving student loans places the burden of payment on tax payers. Those tax payers may not have a college education. They may have chosen to take an…

    [read more]
    0
  • Anna from Pennsylvania

    Going to college is a personal choice to sacrifice immediate time and money for future gain. The fact that some people make that choice does not give them the right to demand that everyone else pay for it via federal student loan forgiveness. Thus, federal student loan forgiveness is immoral (because it steals from everyone to give to a few), but even if it were not, it would be unconstitutional and unwise.

    Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists what the national government has power to do. The list is quite short and sweet, and anything related to education or subsidizing citizens for any purpose is notably absent. Some claim that such powers are assumed by the phrase “general welfare,” but they ignore the Founders’ clear intent. Most Founders, such as James Madison, insisted that the phrase did not confer any extra power to the national government beyond what was expressly enumerated. Even Alexander Hamilton, who had the most expansive views on government, believed that the national government could only act in areas that were outside the purview of the individual states. Since states may spend money on education, the federal government is not authorized to do so. This is the principle of exclusive powers, explained by Justice Joseph Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States.

    Remember the saying, “You get what you pay for”? This applies not only to the products you buy, but also to anything that the government throws money at. The more that the government subsidizes college, the greater will be the demand for college. That is, more people will go to college simply because they can, rather than because it is actually a good fit for them personally. And, ironically, the more that government or other entities remove the pinch of college costs, the more colleges can raise their tuition even higher. If everyone had to pay their own way through college, colleges would be forced to keep their tuition to more reasonable levels in order to attract students.

    As a culture we are already idolizing college education by pushing all students to go, to the detriment of crucial trade jobs. Relying on “Big Brother” to erase student loans will only serve to increase college costs long-term, increase the number of struggling college students, line the coffers of colleges, and encourage unwise spending habits.

    [read less]

    Going to college is a personal choice to sacrifice immediate time and money for future gain. The fact that some people make that choice does not give …

    [read more]
    0