OPINION: We need to get on board with student loan forgiveness

Flyer News Opinion Editor argues that Biden’s decision to vote against the cancellation of student loans was a mistake, photo courtesy of Flickr.

Zoe Hill
Opinions Editor

President Joe Biden shot down a Democrat-backed proposal to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt; this is a mistake.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer began putting pressure on the Biden Administration to work towards major student loan forgiveness. One of Biden’s campaign promises was to eliminate up to $10,000. He said at his February town hall that he intends to keep that promise. 

Students across the country are drowning in debt before they even walk on campus, and $10,000 is just a rickety life raft. What we need now is a rescue boat. 

As a student, I can testify to the fact that student loan debt is a fundamental part of the college process. Each semester, I receive a bill, and each semester, I sign up to take on several thousands more in debt. 

This issue is not new, and every argument for and against student loan forgiveness has been heard. But, no matter how many times we discuss what should happen, the cloud of debt looms larger. I do not see a way out from this crisis without some sort of cancellation, but the question here is: how much is enough? 

Here at UD, students know that $10,000 won’t get them very far. That amount of money would not even cover the amount that had to borrow for just freshman year. Then the issue of picking a less expensive school is inevitably brought up. Students should not have to compromise on their education for the affordability of the college. 

If eliminating all student loan debt has been taken off the table, Warren and Schumer’s proposal of $50,000 would surely be a step in the right direction in helping students emerge from college ready to contribute to society.  

The opposing argument that student loan forgiveness is not fair for those who have already paid off their education is deeply flawed. 

First, a college degree is statistically more expensive now than it has ever been. The U.S. Department of Education compared tuition costs from 1985 to 2018 and found that, for a private institution such as UD, the average cost has more than doubled in the last three decades. That is a 110 percent increase in cost to go to college from the time that my parents were in school. 

The second issue I have with the fairness argument can be quickly illustrated by the Trolley Problem. If you’ve never encountered the Trolley Problem, it is essentially the crux of ethical and philosophical thought. 

A trolley is headed down a track with five people standing in the way. You have the ability to switch the track, but a single person is standing on the new path. The ethics of whether you remain a bystander and let the trolley hit the five people or become an active participant in killing the one person by flipping the track creates the Trolley Problem. 

Every person who has paid off their student loans has already been ran over by the trolley. Biden has the ability to switch the track to divert the train from hitting every future student. Is it fair that every future student be ran over with debt just because the track was not switched for all of the past students? I cannot imagine that is the case. 

I am standing on those same trolley tracks right now, and I am pleading that someone pulls the lever.

There is a way out of this mess that students are in, but it takes an active administration to change the path that we are heading down as a country. Bystander Biden’s $10,000 promise guarantees nothing but half measures that will derail all future generation’s opportunities for success. 

For more opinion pieces like Flyer News on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@FlyerNews) and Instagram (@flyernews) 

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper