Student debt is a huge issue for a large majority of college students. It is a financial burden that some former students do not fully pay off until over a decade after their graduation.
Because of this, the issue of student loans has recently become an important part of the platforms of democratic candidates. Most candidates agree that something should be done in regard to forgiving student debt; however, where they differ is how to go about that forgiveness, as well as how much debt should be forgiven.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan is the most generous of the major candidates – eliminating all student debt and making college free for all public colleges and universities. Sanders recently introduced the College for All Act of 2019, which would cancel all $1.6 trillion of student debt and provide $48 billion to colleges and universities in order to help keep tuition free for students.
Sanders says that his plan would not only save students an average of $3,000 a year but would also cut down the racial wealth gap among students. In regard to paying for all of this, Sanders describes a Wall Street speculation tax, which would supposedly bring in $2.4 trillion over the course of a decade. Sanders claims that “iff Wall Street can be bailed out for several trillion dollars, 45 million Americans can and will be bailed out of the $1.6 trillion burden of student loan debt and we can provide free college for all.”
Similarly, Senator Elizabeth Warren plans to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for households that make less than $100,000 a year. The amount forgiven would decrease by $1 for every $3 for income about $100,000. So, a household that makes $130,000 a year would see $40,000 of student debt eliminated.
Warren claims that 95 percent of students would have at least some student debt eliminated, while 75 percent of students would have their debt completely eliminated. From here, Warren agrees with Sanders that public colleges and universities should be tuition-free, and that a tax should be placed on the rich to help pay for all of this.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan is a little more straightforward than his peers. In his plan, students making under $25,000 a year would owe no payment for their undergraduate loans and would accumulate no interest for their loans. Students who make over $25,000 a year would pay only 5 percent of their income toward federal student loans. Once 20 years of loan payment has been completed, any remaining amount would be forgiven.
As a current senior at Keene State, I am increasingly becoming aware of the gravity of the loans I will have to pay once I finish my undergraduate degree in May. Because of this, I am strongly in support for the elimination of student loans.
I believe that forgiving student debt would be an investment in the rising generation of the country and by eliminating the financial barrier that so many of us have and will have, countless opportunities will open up to contribute to the growth of our economy through business and spending.. I believe that any of the plans laid out by Sanders, Warren or Biden would work as long as they can be properly paid for. If this can happen, I believe the elimination of student loans is a smart investment in this country’s future and will allow the current generation of new workers in our economy to succeed to our fullest potential.
DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinion of Patrick Holden
Patrick Holden can be contacted at Patrick.Holden@ksc.keene.edu