Opinion: Student loan forgiveness won’t rein in tuition costs

Like it or not, there are ways in which higher education is a business. Students have the freedom to stop paying and go elsewhere if they find better alternatives.
By: | June 10, 2022

The Biden administration has been teasing a plan to forgive $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower, with an official announcement expected later this summer. The plan could offer a small measure of relief to the one in five Americans (and one in three of those aged 25-34) who owe the federal government a combined $1.7 trillion in student loan debt.

Most Democrats favor some kind of forgiveness to help indebted students — particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds. Republicans are generally opposed, arguing that debt forgiveness would be “an affront to the millions of people and borrowers who worked hard to pay off their loans,” as Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) recently told the Wall Street Journal.

Both sides make valid points. But neither side is addressing the underlying problem: the skyrocketing cost of higher education. Since 1978, college tuition has increased by 1,375 percent, more than four times the rate of inflation. By focusing on debt forgiveness rather than what caused the debt, we’re treating the symptom rather the disease.

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