I recently graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Besides a diploma, I will also be leaving UCSD with about $67,000 in student loan debt. That is not including interest.
Tuition and housing for a single year at UCSD cost about $30,000, conservatively. I attended community college for 2 years and lived at home in order to save money. Sadly, I do not qualify for financial aid and my parents are unable to pay for my collegiate education, meaning I had to find a way to fund my education. The loans I took out are from private banks, not the federal government which means two things: 1) I have a significantly higher interest rate, and 2) in the current Biden plan, my student loan debt would not be canceled.
Unfortunately, I am not an anomaly in the United States. The U.S. student debt has hit $1.67 trillion at the start of 2020 and will only increase.
The diagnosis of how student loans became classified as a crisis leads directly to the Great Recession. Most states during the recession made massive spending cuts to public universities, which in return caused the universities to raise tuition. Today, tuition continues to rise and state funding has not returned to its pre-recession numbers.
President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise of “canceling student debt”, however, he has no clear plans in place to cancel debt on a large scale. Biden has made statements calling on Congress to pass legislation and that he would be happy to sign legislation that offered relief.
I am in favor of any student loan cancelation but unless you address the source of the problem, no matter the amount you “forgive”, it won’t protect future freshmen from having to take out student loans to fund their schooling.
The obvious answer to the student loan crisis is: legislators need to return funding to public universities to its pre-recession numbers and adjust it for inflation. A step in the right direction would be to increase funding for community colleges and increase the number of grants from the federal government such as Pell Grants. However, this also needs to go hand and hand with universities lowering tuition prices.
Unfortunately, this seems like a lofty goal. With an increasingly polarized Congress, actually impactful legislation seems out of reach. Highlighting this struggle is a Twitter profile aptly named “Has Joe Biden Canceled Student Debt Yet?” where every day since the inauguration of President Biden they tweet out the simple word “no.” Today, similar to the day before, they tweeted out the word “no.”
Posted By Delaney Rogers
Posted Apr 12th, 2021