Yes, It Should.

By Aled Zheng (IV), Contributing Writer

During his presidential campaign, President Joe Biden promised to forgive 10,000 dollars of student debt for all borrowers. This sparked a debate surrounding the necessity of student debt, but the argument is one-sided and straightforward: student debt must be forgiven before it is too late.

According to a Consumer News and Business Channel report from June 2020, 44 million Americans collectively hold around 1.6 trillion dollars in student debt. With the number of people affected to the extent that they are, student debt is clearly a major problem that must be addressed, especially in this pandemic. The added economic pressure of the pandemic only makes it clearer how quickly we must act on this issue.

To begin with, it is necessary to understand the true extent of student debt in the United States and how it is becoming worse. According to a report by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the rate of college tuition and fees for students has gone up seven percent every year since the 1980s. The worst part of this growth is that wages are not growing at the same pace.

Declan Gorman (IV) states, “[Student debt] prevents many young people from being able to save up and be able to afford basic necessities.” Those who are reliant on their own income would not only have to worry about the essentials, like food and water, but also about their student debt at all times. What other common cost rises so drastically, so steadily and so disproportionately to the increase in wages?

Crippling student debt disproportionately affects the working class, as well as people of color: according to Bloomberg CityLab, 41 percent of the working class is made up of people of color, though people of color only represent around 34 percent of the U.S. adult population. This disparity only furthers the need for aid in student debt. In order to make the country a more equitable place to live, everyone must have the same starting place after graduating college.

In addition, according to Business Insider, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed even more Americans into a financial emergency, meaning that it is now more crucial than ever to lift these disadvantaged people out of the ever-deepening hole of financial woes caused by issues far outside their own control.

With the many financial difficulties people all across America are facing, student debt must be forgiven to help the already struggling working class. It is the least that can be done, especially knowing how difficult this time has been.

Often, people are concerned about the effect such a drastic course of action would have on the U.S. economy. While that is a reasonable assumption, U.S. military spending is the highest in the world. In fact, it totals hundreds of billions of dollars, sometimes over a trillion dollars per year, according to Statista.

Spending an excess sum of money on the military does not directly benefit the American people the way that forgiving student debt would. While it can still be argued that it is important to keep the funding there, it is entirely plausible to reallocate some funds.

While this solution may not instantaneously forgive all student debt, it would significantly improve our current situation. Especially with the pandemic, this is exactly what is needed right now. To make some progress in lessening the disparity in respect to both class and race, it is essential that any and all possible steps should be taken. For these reasons, the course of action is clear: it is best to forgive student debt.