Opinion | Struggling With Mounting Student Debt

To the Editor:

Re “Drowning in Student Loan Debt” (Op-Ed, March 19):

It’s easy to sympathize with Molly Webster’s carrying tens of thousands of dollars in student debt at age 38. But she made the decisions to attend an expensive school, defer debt, attend graduate school full-time and study science journalism, a skill that garnered “just enough to keep the lights on.”

If only more young people could come to know state colleges, part-time jobs during the school year and full-time jobs during the summer, majors like business administration and information technology, and evening schools for graduate work combined with well-paying day jobs. If only they knew that some employers will help out with grad school if the subject matter is related to the employee’s work. Maybe then there wouldn’t be so much talk about loan forgiveness.

Mike Egan
Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

To the Editor:

I borrowed $75,000 to pay for college and now I owe $149,000. I’m paying a 7.5 to 8 percent interest rate. I have been making my payments on time, and, like Molly, I have federal loans.

I don’t want to cancel debt; I want a reasonable fee assessed on what I borrowed. My loan would be nearly paid off by now if not for the exorbitant interest charged. Please help us!

I have a great career due to my education, but I shouldn’t owe twice what I borrowed. I cannot retire because of these loans.

Connie Murphy
St. Petersburg, Fla.

To the Editor:

Molly Webster has been unable to leverage being the valedictorian of her senior class, her substantial academic scholarships and her two academic degrees into a livable income that allows her to pay down her student loans.

Similarly, Roxane Gay (“Is This Where We Are, America?” Op-Ed, Nov. 20, 2020) earned three academic degrees, wrote and published multiple books, and in 2019 was a visiting professor at Yale University. But she also can’t pay down her student loans.

Given the harsh realities of the market economy, I fully support providing some loan forgiveness to those struggling to pay down undergraduate debt. This assistance would go toward “leveling the playing field” for the less fortunate among us.

But I do not support federal relief for graduate student loans. There must be a threshold beyond which college graduates, as educated participants in a market economy, are expected to leverage their educations to pay their bills. Their additional debt, and additional degrees, must be on their own shoulders.

What is that threshold? $10,000 of debt? $20,000? The first degree? The second? The third?

Jonathan Carey
Hoboken, N.J.

To the Editor:

No, Molly Webster, Congress should not buy your student loans back from the banks. Congress should wipe them out — plainly and simply. You illustrate a problem that America has not truly confronted.

Our accumulated student debt, the likes of which no other modern democracy has ever amassed, can never be repaid. The accumulated American student debt will either prove the ruin of millions of American citizens, or simply be abolished by a government desperately seeking economic equilibrium and concerned with any hope of ameliorating wealth inequality. The only question is one of time.

Ira Feldman
Belle Harbor, Queens
The writer is an adjunct lecturer in Brooklyn College’s Department of Mathematics.

To the Editor:

There is a way to address excessive student loan debt that is fairer and less arbitrary than simply canceling a fixed amount of debt for everyone: retroactively set the interest rate at the actual rate of inflation.

If the amount that a debtor has already paid would have been enough to pay off the loan if the interest rate had been tied to inflation all along, then the debt would be canceled. Everyone would be required to repay their loans, just at a fairer interest rate. That way, the cancellation program will be perceived as a matter of fairness, not an unfair giveaway.

Richard Kass
Forest Hills, Queens

Source: Read Full Article