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Should student loan debt (USA) be forgiven?

missy

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Presidential campaigns always try to stay on script, but the handshake game in early states still offers interesting spontaneity. Case in point: After an Elizabeth Warren event this week in Grimes, Iowa, a voter challenged her plan to forgive student debt.

It’s all captured on tape. As C-Span’s camera rolls, a man approaches Ms. Warren and says hello: “I just wanted to ask one question. My daughter’s getting out of school. I’ve saved all my money. She doesn’t have any student loans.” Ms. Warren nods and says, “God bless you.”



Then the shoe drops. “Am I going to get my money back?” the man asks. Ms. Warren has proposed to cancel $640 billion in student loans, up to $50,000 a person. She says this would help 42 million Americans. But there’s no provision to reimburse the millions of others who worked hard, saved money, and put themselves or their children through college.

“Of course not,” Ms. Warren replies. The man gets agitated. “So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money,” he says, “and those of us who did the right thing get screwed.” He continues: “My buddy had fun, bought a car, went on vacations. I saved my money. He made more than I did, but I worked a double shift, worked extra. My daughter’s worked since she was 10.”
It’s a tense but revealing moment about politics and personal responsibility in a democracy. As far as we know, the man hasn’t identified himself, so there’s no way to guess if he supports a different candidate or was intentionally aiming for a viral video. In any event, he’s now all over the news, in a way that is forcing Ms. Warren to respond.
On Friday morning she was asked about the clip on CBS. “We build a future going forward by making it better,” she said. “By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn’t start it last week for you, or last month for you?”
That answer might work with Democratic crowds, but it ignores the man’s point about unfairness and the total dysfunction in student loans. The government subsidizes debt, colleges raise their prices, students are told to get more degrees, credential inflation kicks in, and taxpayers eat the losses. Ms. Warren’s proposals would make such problems worse. The political press might not care, but fathers who saved for their children in Iowa do.
 

kenny

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Hell no.
Ya take out a loan, ya pay it back.

... Whaaaaa! :cry2: I'm special so I'm entitled to have my mortgage paid off by the government (IOW, taxpayers). Whaaaa!

WTF? :roll:
 
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missy

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Hell no.
Ya take out a loan, ya pay it back.

... Whaaaaa! I'm special so I'm entitled to have my mortgage paid off by the government (IOW, taxpayers). Whaaaa! :cry2:

WTF? :roll:
Yeah, I see both sides. In the USA I don't see how we can successfully forgive all school debt. I wish we could but I don't see how we could.

I know it is incredibly challenging for kids these days and their parents. I know that. But there are other options. Community college and then possibly going from there to a 4 year college to finish one's college education. Taking time off to work in the field of one's interest and earning some money and then going back to school. Applying for scholarships of course but not sure how possible that option is for many. But there are options. Not everyone can afford the most expensive or even less expensive options but there are choices for higher education for most I think.

Working and saving and doing without. Making sacrifices to make education happen.

There are no easy answers but if there is a will there is a way. IMO.
 

winnietucker

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I’m undecided on this. There’s a lot of pressure to go to college right after high school with very little guidance. Kids are basically told they need to get some kind of college degree to be successful. Jobs that should not be requiring college degrees now do.

I remember Googling what my degree would make after graduation and let me tell you, I didn’t find it to be true. My first job made about $15k less than what Google said. My engineer husband started his first “real” job making $15/ hour and got offers for $12/ hour. Part of that is the job market where we lived (which was a higher COL area than where we live now oddly enough) and part of that was that we went to unimpressive state colleges and worked a ton through college to graduate with less debt. We didn’t get to do internships and our grades aren’t the best because at one point we had 5 jobs between the two of us. It took him a few years of working his ass off and basically making work his #1 priority to get enough raises to put him closer to what the average person makes in his field, at his level. Plus we had to move thousands of miles away from our friends and family. If we still lived in our home state he’d likelybe making significantly less.

On top of this we don’t teach kids personal finance in school either. And how many parents teach their kids personal finance? IME with myself and my peers, parents don’t often do that. I truly feel a lot of kids go in with very little understanding of how this will affect them long term.

And one more thing... textbooks. I remember having to pay hundreds for textbooks that were useless after because they were unbound and came with a one time use access code. My last semester I had to pay $300 for an accounting textbook and had no choice. You need to shell out for the books and access codes now to take the classes. It’s a sham!

I’d like to go back to school to get a masters but at the price I’m very hesitant. Especially since there’s no guarantee it helps you long term.
 

missy

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On top of this we don’t teach kids personal finance in school either
That is a shame. We should teach this to our kids. Also I think we need to teach them personal responsibility. I find that to be lacking from what I can see. IMO Taking personal responsibility will allow one to go far in life.

I’d like to go back to school to get a masters but at the price I’m very hesitant. Especially since there’s no guarantee it helps you long term.
I hope you get to realize this dream and that it is successful for you.
 

missy

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This comes down to living within your means, just like with every other purchase.

Buy the education you can afford.
Yes, I agree completely with that and would add just one thing. Live not only within your means but (just a bit) below for a cushion of sorts if one can.
 

winnietucker

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That is a shame. We should teach this to our kids. Also I think we need to teach them personal responsibility. I find that to be lacking from what I can see. IMO Taking personal responsibility will allow one to go far in life.



I hope you get to realize this dream and that it is successful for you.
I agree we do. I’m in favor of making finance a mandatory class in high school. Include taxes in that too because too many people don’t understand how some of the basics work.

But I doubt I’ll ever go back to school at this point. I’m very leery of taking on debt, especially that much of it.
 

missy

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I agree we do. I’m in favor of making finance a mandatory class in high school. Include taxes in that too because too many people don’t understand how some of the basics work.

But I doubt I’ll ever go back to school at this point. I’m very leery of taking on debt, especially that much of it.
I don't blame you. If I were to attend the same schools today I attended in the 80s I don't know if I could go into the profession I chose. What I earned was simply not enough to pay for school today. Period. And in my profession the earnings never went high enough to keep up with the cost of education. So I would go into a different field today. You do what you have to to make it work. That's all you can do. The best you can.

Maybe one day it will work out for you somehow. Are there scholarships you can apply for? Are there any career options that might pay for you to go back to school?
 

Slick1

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Hmm...a bit of a touchy subject for me. I think loan forgiveness sounds great on the surface. But as a parent who sent, and mostly paid for, my kids to go to private college (they took small loans each year too as I felt that would give them a ‘stake’ in it themselves) I would be put off if my ‘neighbor’s’ kids had their loans forgiven. They didn’t sacrifice as we did (no vacays, new cars, bling etc.) to be able to do it and as a result their children have much larger loans now. Would that be equitable to the folks who live within their means and pay their own way have others who did not get a free ride....I say no! #Sorrynotsorry
 

missy

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Hmm...a bit of a touchy subject for me. I think loan forgiveness sounds great on the surface. But as a parent who sent, and mostly paid for, my kids to go to private college (they took small loans each year too as I felt that would give them a ‘stake’ in it themselves) I would be put off if my ‘neighbor’s’ kids had their loans forgiven. They didn’t sacrifice as we did to be able to do it and as a result their children have much larger loans now. Would that be equitable to the folks who live within their means and pay their own way have others who did not get a free ride....I say no! #Sorrynotsorry
Yes I totally get that. Some of us made great sacrifices in order to obtain or have our kids obtain a higher education. I get where that man was coming from when he confronted Elizabeth Warren. And drawing on my past experience great sacrifices were made in order for my sister and I to attend the college and gradate school of our choice. I feel fortunate and very lucky to have been able to do this but yes we made sacrifices to do so. We do not come from a wealthy family by any means.

I feel there need to be more readily available low cost options so any child who wants a higher education can get one but as with everything worthwhile sacrifices generally have to be made. Period. There is no free lunch so to speak. That is one lesson we learned very early on indeed.
 

Slick1

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@missy Exactly! Sadly I do see a lot of entitlement and not a lot of work ethic in my profession. It’s disheartening for sure. I do think we need better access to higher education for those who truly can’t afford it, but I don’t want to pay for those who find a way to cheat the system and/or feel entitled to a free ride.

Case in point...I know a family who put their MANY assets in their parents’ name so that they could get financial assistance for their children. Assistance they didn’t need as their child was driving a new BMW as a college sophomore. But they were needy?! /rant
 

missy

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@missy Exactly! Sadly I do see a lot of entitlement and not a lot of work ethic in my profession. It’s disheartening for sure. I do think we need better access to higher education for those who truly can’t afford it, but I don’t want to pay for those who find a way to cheat the system and/or feel entitled to a free ride.

Case in point...I know a family who put their MANY assets in their parents’ name so that they could get financial assistance for their children. Assistance they didn’t need as their child was driving a new BMW as a college sophomore. But they were needy?!
Wow, so many abuses of the system. Despicable. Disheartening. And they ruin it for those truly in need. I saw it in my profession working with the developmentally disabled where people who didn't need services got them and those deserving got scre*ed. Upsetting and unconscionable. And destroys the system for those who need it and for all those in the future too.

As for entitlement yeah it is rampant and also disheartening. Like I wrote above teaching personal responsibility at an early age would go a long way in helping and improving one's work ethic and overall quality of life.
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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Having dug myself (and my husband) out of a significant amount of student loan debt I have my own thoughts. Should all debt be forgiven? No. You took it out, pay it. Should the interest rates be LOW, not accrue at all while you're in school, and FIXED, YES! Should you be able to go to a "state" or community college for "free" in every state (Like NYS Excelsior program) YES. NYS Excelsior Program IMO they do need to increase the cap for the earnings to at least 175,000 considering cost of living here and what is truly "middle class" but it's a great start. If this had been an option when I was going to school I absolutely would have taken advantage of it.
 

winnietucker

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I don't blame you. If I were to attend the same schools today I attended in the 80s I don't know if I could go into the profession I chose. What I earned was simply not enough to pay for school today. Period. And in my profession the earnings never went high enough to keep up with the cost of education. So I would go into a different field today. You do what you have to to make it work. That's all you can do. The best you can.

Maybe one day it will work out for you somehow. Are there scholarships you can apply for? Are there any career options that might pay for you to go back to school?
IME scholarships were hard to get. I tried for a few during my undergrad but I’m an average student who had no extracurriculars. I tried for some geared toward Native Hawaiians since I figured it’d be more exclusive but nothing... I could try again but I’m still relatively unimpressive.

Navigating scholarships would be a good class topic for high school seniors though.
 

Bonfire

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I understand that man’s frustration. We sacrificed on many things to pay for our two kid’s college educations. For us it was our priority and I’m in no way complaining, but student loan forgiveness?

More tax for the already heavily taxed. :x2
 

Karl_K

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Im going to go against the grain and say yes with a twist.
Expand public service and income based repayment.
Fixed low interest rates.
State school should be free to very low cost for the education part but not room and board.
Crack down on schools charging different rates based on how much someone can borrow.
If they go to a private school I really have no sympathy for them.
But states have been neglecting their responsibility to state schools and state schools have been spending far more than they should on none educational stuff.
Crack down on garbage classes in state schools that are not related to the core subjects and employment related studies with the exception of basic art and music classes.
There has been a steady increase in the amount of crap classes being offered. Some of them finding their way into being required classes.

The availability of student loans for a very high amounts has ruined the higher education system in the US and throwing money at it without reform is not an answer.
 

vintageloves

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If I could clap my hands and make it go away, sure. But that’s not how it works.

I have no idea why the media hounds Warren about this stuff but let’s Bernie off Scott free. Warren’s plan, while unrealistic, is to tax the networth of individuals over 50M to pay for these programs. Bernie, who is likely to be the nominee, is going to tax money invested in Wall Street. He’s going to drain people’s 401Ks IRAs and mutual funds to appease his loud, increasingly violent youth base.

I don’t want young people saddled with huge debts. But I had no hand in it and my savings are off limits. Find another way.
 

bludiva

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i think it should be for people making less than x.... someone always gets screwed when we implement positive change ....I'm one of the people getting screwed in that scenario for putting myself through school and paying off my loans but i still realize the system has to change if we're going to have a society that functions for the next generation.
 

rocks

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If I could clap my hands and make it go away, sure. But that’s not how it works.

I have no idea why the media hounds Warren about this stuff but let’s Bernie off Scott free. Warren’s plan, while unrealistic, is to tax the networth of individuals over 50M to pay for these programs. Bernie, who is likely to be the nominee, is going to tax money invested in Wall Street. He’s going to drain people’s 401Ks IRAs and mutual funds to appease his loud, increasingly violent youth base.

I don’t want young people saddled with huge debts. But I had no hand in it and my savings are off limits. Find another way.
Warrens plan won’t yield nearly enough money. Sanders wants to tax anyone that has anything...though I’m sure there will be carve outs for union pensions and the like.

My father (and my husbands father) wisely told us to assume that there would be no social security by the time we were “eligible”, and to plan accordingly. We have. Bernie’s plan is to punish people like us, who have lived well within our means...and have done without to save for our retirement. Hands off.
 

bludiva

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one easier step would be to decrease the interest rates on those loans to zero vs outright forgiveness. crack down on predatory lenders. make public uni more affordable. it doesn't have to be all or nothing.
 

diamondseeker2006

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I'll just repeat what other wise people said above:

1) Um, no, you chose to take out loans, and it is a sad shame your parents didn't advise you to do what Missy said in (2). There are consequences to the choices you make. So please don't make me pay for my kids' college plus the ones who were not responsible with their financial decisions.

2) There were options other than taking huge loans. Most people have access to low cost community colleges for the basic required classes. Live at home. Work part-time. Finish that part with zero debt. Finish the last 2 years, if possible, at a state school within driving distance. We know a young man who did all of this and graduated with very little help from his parents and no debt.

3) Always live within your means. If you have low income and have to live paycheck to paycheck, then I can see how saving money would be difficult. So I can understand how an unexpected medical bill or car repair might cause one to pay those on credit. But as Missy said above, it is best to try to live a little under what you make so you can save for emergencies. It really makes me sad when I see posts on this forum about people selling diamonds or jewelry because of an unexpected expense. Luxury purchases come AFTER emergency savings and retirement savings are actively part of the monthly budget.

I think politicians trying to get votes by promoting this is disgusting, and I think it is sad that the same people who borrowed more than they could afford would fall for the sales pitch of the politicians.
 

the_mother_thing

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Community college and then possibly going from there to a 4 year college to finish one's college education.
...
There are no easy answers but if there is a will there is a way. IMO.
This is exactly what my DD is currently doing. She knows what she has available to her for college, and she decided - on her own - to stretch those dollars via attending CC first, saving the bulk for where it will be needed. I am so proud of how much she has ‘grown-up’ (and in some respects, ‘wised-up’ lol) in the last year, the realizations she came to pretty quickly when she learned how hard it is ‘out there’, and the choices she has made as result.

On your other point above, I agree ... everyone isn’t dealt the same hand; but everyone has a choice in how they play their hand.
 

msop04

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A lot of the problem is the ease of obtaining government loans without any regard to the ability to pay back. If you're profession won't allow you to comfortably pay the loans back, then it just doesn't make sense to be able to take out that much money in student loans. The most common example I've seen is the kid who wants to be, say, a teacher (and no offense to teachers - my dad was one for 32 years, and my sister is as well, and I believe they are underpaid), and does one or a combination of the following:

- changes majors after their third year in college (or changes majors several times over the years), accruing a bunch of student debt, then having to stay in school longer to complete the new degree... so now in debt for extra YEARS of college that they may not be able to pay back.

- does extra studies that aren't required or are just for fun... like a year or more abroad. So then there's the expense of the trip, the cost of the course(s), and the additional funds to live while there. It was their choice, but it was unnecessary debt.

- chooses a very expensive school, when they could have gotten said degree from pretty much any institution... then they graduate and have $$$ loans, but their career of choice doesn't have the salary to even begin to pay them off. Am I saying they shouldn't be able to choose the school they want to attend?? Absolutely not. However, choices have consequences...

We have GOT to stop coddling the younger generation(s)... it is a complete and total disservice to them, at the expense of all. I believe total student debt forgiveness is a horrible idea. I mean, SOMEONE is going to pay for this massive debt. And guess who it will be? Taxpayers. Those who have already paid for or are currently paying for their student loans, as well as those who never had any to begin with... People have to learn to take responsibility for their own actions and choices. And it is a choice.

So should they be forgiven? Not no, but HELL NO.


I'm a chick with $160K+ in student debt (all this is from pharmacy school - I have no debt from undergrad)... I will need almost all 30 years to repay it. And my class was the luckiest, in that the year I graduated (2003), I was able to lock in at the lowest interest rate that student loans were ever and have ever been to date. A friend of mine had about the same amount of debt after school, but her payments are almost 3x what mine are, because she graduated three years after I did. Thankfully, she can pay them back, but it still sucks.
 
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OreoRosies86

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College cost 5 grand back when my parents went. Young people today absolutely cannot win. I don’t know that college debt forgiveness is the answer, but the system is beyond broken for anyone pursuing a higher education (and subsequent job).
 

msop04

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I'll just repeat what other wise people said above:

1) Um, no, you chose to take out loans, and it is a sad shame your parents didn't advise you to do what Missy said in (2). There are consequences to the choices you make. So please don't make me pay for my kids' college plus the ones who were not responsible with their financial decisions.

2) There were options other than taking huge loans. Most people have access to low cost community colleges for the basic required classes. Live at home. Work part-time. Finish that part with zero debt. Finish the last 2 years, if possible, at a state school within driving distance. We know a young man who did all of this and graduated with very little help from his parents and no debt.

3) Always live within your means. If you have low income and have to live paycheck to paycheck, then I can see how saving money would be difficult. So I can understand how an unexpected medical bill or car repair might cause one to pay those on credit. But as Missy said above, it is best to try to live a little under what you make so you can save for emergencies. It really makes me sad when I see posts on this forum about people selling diamonds or jewelry because of an unexpected expense. Luxury purchases come AFTER emergency savings and retirement savings are actively part of the monthly budget.

I think politicians trying to get votes by promoting this is disgusting, and I think it is sad that the same people who borrowed more than they could afford would fall for the sales pitch of the politicians.
Dear Lord, I cannot like this enough.
 

msop04

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College cost 5 grand back when my parents went. Young people today absolutely cannot win. I don’t know that college debt forgiveness is the answer, but the system is beyond broken for anyone pursuing a higher education (and subsequent job).
Can you explain why you feel the system is broken for those who desire higher education??
 
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