The Biden Administration has recently announced they would be canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 per year. Biden’s plan is to cancel $20,000 of debt for qualifying students if they received a Pell Grant and $10,000 for other students. This would help millions of Americans and college graduates pay off their loans faster or pay them off completely. But this loan forgiveness is not going far enough and doesn’t address the outrageous prices college students have to pay to receive a collegiate education.
The reality for college students is we are paying much more for college today than our parents did. According to Bankrate, since 1980, the price of college has increased by nearly $20,000, with account taken for inflation. This means students are taking out more student loans and consequentially, having to pay more back. Of course, student loan forgiveness is a step in the right direction, but there is more our federal, state and local governments should be doing to support students.
Despite this increase in the price of college, federal assistance has not increased at the same rate. The maximum amount of Pell Grant funds that have been given out has not kept up at the same rate according to a press release from the White House on Aug. 24. It feels like each year, college is getting harder to pay for and barriers keep popping up faster than we can tackle them.
Even though $10,000 is a hefty sum in the right direction, the average amount of debt for students who took out federal loans is $37,667, according to the Education Data Initiative. Many students will still have plenty of debt on their shoulders even after some of their debt is forgiven. Lowering the price of college to more manageable levels and holding public universities accountable to the way they are spending money should be done as well.
One major question for the Biden administration is what about everyone else, all the people who did not go to college or who worked really hard to pay everything off? There is an inherent question of fairness in this argument, but being fair does not justify the suffering of others. Just because one person struggled doesn’t mean everyone after them should have to. Instead, we should be trying to make college more accessible and stop the outrageous inflation of college tuition.
The Biden administration has thrown out a life preserver with the cancellation of student loans but it is not enough to keep many students afloat in their sea of debt.