Cancel [At Least Some] Student Loan Debt: YES!

[NOTE: In a better USA (a prospect rapidly receding on many fronts), canceling student loan debt would be part of a much larger, far-reaching higher ed reform program: tackling rampant tuition (& grade) inflation, restoring decent job security to the huddled masses of adjunct faculty yearning to breathe free, and make the rent (preferably led by tough-minded UNIONS), pushback on neo-fascist intellectual repression from one side and ultrawoke inquisitional orthodoxy on another; and lots more. (For details, cf., Sanders, Bernie, op. cit,)

But it ain’t happening. U. S. higher ed remains a multi-trillion steaming hot mess, especially for non-wealthy new students and young families.

So in the meantime, the Biden limited loan debt cancellation will be a boon to many. Let’s make it work til the stars align to make something more drastic possible. This piece presents a good case.)

New York Times — August 30, 2022

Why I Changed My Mind on Student Debt Forgiveness

Professor Dynarski is an economist at Harvard University.

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As an economist who studies education, I long thought that forgiving student loans was a crude and inequitable tool for fixing student aid. College graduates, after all, are the winners in our society. College certainly changed my life: My father was a high school dropout, but his daughter is a Harvard professor. My student loans (which I paid off just a few years ago) were absolutely worth it. A bachelor’s degree, on average, puts graduates on a path to economic security.

But today many of those who borrow for college do not graduate. Without a degree, they get little to no payoff from college attendance. Delinquencies and defaults on small student loans have undermined their financial security. This is the opposite of what we hope to achieve by encouraging people to go to college.

I now firmly believe that targeted debt cancellation is the best way to undo the damage done to millions of borrowers by a persistently dysfunctional system of college funding and student loan repayment.

What changed my thinking? Decades of political paralysis around fixing that funding system. An unending increase in tuition prices and student borrowing. And a growing body of evidence showing harm to students who have borrowed to cover mounting college costs.

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