Student loan relief will play a role in campaigns

Many people successful in their life’s pursuits are where they are today because of educational opportunities afforded by federal student loans or grants.

Those former students should be forever grateful for having had the opportunity to grow up in a free nation with abundant educational opportunities coupled by abundant financial resources that enabled them to get a college degree without first having to provide much, if any, upfront tuition money.

Today, rather than dwelling on the hope that their loans someday might be forgiven, for whatever reason, former loan recipients now earning a paycheck should feel a sense of patriotic duty and obligation about someday paying off their education indebtedness in full.

Still, it is human nature for former students to hope the government might someday opt to forgive their loan or loans, thus freeing them from indebtedness destined to last for years, perhaps decades, depending on students’ areas of study.

Student loan relief has been a very visible subject of discussion and debate for years. The subject has been at the forefront especially on the political campaign trails.

That said, it is correct to assume the topic will hold a formidable place during campaigning leading up to November’s mid-term election and during the 2024 presidential race.

Without doubt, it is the kind of issue that should be a campaign topic. Yet families who sent their sons and daughters to college without ever having had the benefit of loan forgiveness might be inclined to oppose a free ride — full or partial — for others. Also, many former students and their families embrace the thinking that having to pay for something such as a college education promotes greater appreciation of it. Such thinking should be acknowledged by the White House and Congress during consideration of the student loan relief issue. Many Americans already have cemented their opinions regarding the topic; what they should be doing now is sharing their opinions with their representatives in Washington.

Last month the Wall Street Journal delved into the student loan repayment issue, reporting that the Biden administration wants to make it easier for lower-income student loan borrowers to get debt forgiveness through an existing program that has enrolled millions of people, but which has provided few with relief.

The move, announced by the Education Department, reportedly will attempt to more broadly overhaul how the student loan repayment system works, the article said, noting that President Joe Biden recently extended a pandemic-related pause on payments of federal student loans to Aug. 31.

According to the article, changes being advocated by the administration would enable about 3.6 million people — nearly 10 percent of all student loan borrowers — to receive at least three years of credit toward eventual debt forgiveness. Borrowers and members of both parties in Congress have criticized the program in question as being broken, because of the few students it actually has helped since the beginning of its existence in 1992.

It’s premature to judge whether expanding eligibility on student loan debt relief is a good idea. It’s also premature to speculate about whether the president’s idea will ever become reality, because of Congress’ divisiveness.


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