Sunday, August 28, 2022

I worked and paid off my student loan- My thoughts on President Biden's action

Like many others who attended college in the '70s and '80s (and today), my education was made possible by a student loan.

For the next several years, I made payments on that loan until one day I received a letter telling me my loan was "paid in full."

Unfortunately, two weeks later, I received a letter telling me that I still owed 13 cents- 13 cents!

Rather than pay the 13 cents and get the creditor off my back forever, I wrote a letter declaring I would not be paying the 13 cents because "paid in full means paid in full."

More than 30 years have passed, and I still have not received a response to that letter. Either I made my point or someday I will receive notice that my original student loan has accumulated an incredible amount of interest.

I accepted the loan and paid back every cent of it because that was my responsibility.

Now I read that President Biden has issued an executive order that has greatly reduced student loan debt for some and completely eliminated it for others.

Thousands will get their "paid in full" without actually paying it in full. They won't have to painstakingly scrape together payments month after month and worry if they are going to be able to make their next installments.

Perhaps I should be resentful that a mollycoddled generation is having its debt wiped away through executive fiat. That is the message being sent to me by those who are using the president's action to stoke division.

Perhaps I should be resentful, but I am not.

I was overjoyed when I read what the president has done. I wish he would have done more.

Many of the teachers I worked with were weighted down by student loan debt they accumulated so they could work at a job at which they were woefully underpaid.

My student loan debt was considerably less. I only needed to borrow $5,000 because I was fortunate enough to seek higher education at a time when it was more affordable.

My payments were not hundreds of dollars. I paid $33 a month. It seemed like a lot when I was making $250 a week (before taxes) as editor of the Lamar Democrat, but I did not face the burden faced by those who sought higher education over the next few decades.

My education came at a time before the cost of credit hours soared since college and university officials quickly realized the sky was the limit when students had access to loans. The money was rolling in and who cared if the young people who hoped to lay the groundwork for their futures would be saddled in debt for a great deal of those futures?

Some opponents of President Biden's executive order complained that those who did not go to college would be forced to pay for those whose debts had been forgiven.

Those who did not go to college have every right to complain, but not about the student loan decision. Their complaints should be directed at the politicians and business executives whose decisions have eliminated well-paying jobs that did not require a college education by moving them overseas, busting unions and sacrificing jobs and plants on the altar of dividends for stockholders and ever-increasing salaries and benefits for executives.

As these decisions decimated the middle class, we began to hear the mantra that young people will not be able to succeed without a college education. More and more students were pushed into making decisions that they might not have made in the past because well-paying blue-collar jobs were no longer a priority.

Many of the people who began accumulating student debt would never have even considered attending college in years past. Now they were told it was a necessity.

As we are well into the 21st Century, the jobs for which our institutions of higher education allegedly prepared our students are no longer as plentiful and nowhere near as lucrative.

Meanwhile, our colleges and universities have increased tuition rates year after year and our younger generations have mortgaged their futures by incurring financial responsibilities built on a bridge of broken promises.

When I signed the papers for my student loan more than 40 years ago, I accepted a responsibility- I would work to get an education and once I received that education, I would repay my debt. That's exactly what I did, and it was worth every penny.

I received a fair deal.

The same cannot be said for those who have fallen victim to the shell game that today's version of higher education has become.

I celebrate President Biden's executive action and hope it is just a first decision in many that will make higher education an affordable dream and not a recurring nightmare.


Anonymous said...

We have to Stop Bailing Out Everyone - - People have take Responsibility for themselves - It is not the Responsibility of the Government to Watch Over and Take Care of Everyone - If not we are heading for becoming a Socialist Country - - Which is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind for this Great Country - -

I am Not Fingerpointing at Republicans, Democrates, Etc., since both Parties have done their Damage to the American Economy and are Bankrupting this Country and our Future Childrens Hopes and Dreams...

Everyone at sometime or another needs a Helping Hand - - But, Our Government cannot keep giving Hand Out after Hand Out - - Stimulus Checks, PPP for Businesses, Writing Off Peoples Debt / Student Loans - Paying Peoples Living Expenses Generation after Generation - - WHO DO YOU THINK IS PAYING FOR THIS - - THE AVERAGE HARDWORKING AMERICAN - The Government Does Not Do Anything to Create Revenue - they Blindly use our Tax Dollars and then just Print and Borrow Money - - America Owes China - 1-Trillion Dollars alone.

This has to STOP - We are Bankrupting Future Generations, Your Kids, GrandKids, Great GrandKids and Great Great GrandKids - - Will be Paying Off These Debts - The Federal Debt is 24-Trillion Dollas and is Expected to Raise another 13-Trillion Dollars before 2028. This will set our Future Generations Further and Further Behind - to Achieving the American Dream - of Getting a Good Education, a Good Job, Home Ownership, and Providing for their Families.

It is Sad that our Politicians - are Not Looking at the Realities of what they are Doing and Not Doing for the People of this Country - We were Once the Greatest Country and Economy in the World - - Not Any More..........

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Even as a Republican, I agree with this action. I have 3 children that have had to go on to college and find a way to pay for it. (Daddy doesn’t just write checks, they have to work through it via scholarships, loans and working). The amount of higher education now has inflated tremendously over the past 20, 30 years to wear it has made it harder for working families to take a risk and invest in themselves. One of my children has an undergrad debt of ~72,000. This was with a 4.3 gpa and higher ACT score. They choose the a university of Arkansas because they had their field of Study. This was a chosen investment into their future. Nothing was expected in return.

Additionally before you decide to blindly condemn this action don’t forget the federal bail outs that were given to the automobile and airline industries to keep them afloat during their struggling few months and also the business loans that were handed out to small and large corporations. This was helpful but also there was multiple loop holes for business that were able to profit directly because of this assistance.

Anonymous said...

I don’t agree with this, I don’t agree with any bailout, I don’t agree with the PPP loan forgiveness and I partook in this sham I only did it because my competitors did it, it kept the playing field even at the cost of taxpayers… If you invested in a field that can’t payback the loan,not my problem. Try doing without I know that’s a crazy thought in these times but I bet there are new cars setting in the driveways of there new house, and they are texting on the newest iPhones to the kids iPads upstairs that supper is ready, but they won’t come down because they are gaming on a $1000 console and fancy controls and chairs. I can’t believe what you both have written, nobody deserves anything in life you must earn it to appreciate.., I sure wish I was the majority but sadly I’m not. And I’m not an old man but I do think like one.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the ones who should have forgiven the debts were the universities which have inflated their costs to students 170-180% from 1980 to 2020. And the quality of a 4 year degree has been declining as well.
Allowing endless numbers of students to enroll in degree programs which have no hope of generating enough income to pay the loans is criminal.

Anonymous said...

They knew what they were signing… it’s a contract pay up and shut up

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The average hard working American pays no federal income tax. 57% of us. I suspect most of the complainers don't understand math or economics well enough to understand they won't pay for anything, because they don't pay at all. If only there was some kind of learning institution that taught...

Anonymous said...

According to my tax records I pay plenty of Federal taxes, and I’m not supporting this idea from the “POTUS” Piece Of Total Useless S@it. Pay your own bill’s leave me out of this.