Canceling student debt is a bad idea – Loveland Reporter-Herald
By Larry Hagan
Canceling student debt is a bad idea. Even liberal columnist George Will, in his recent review in the Reporter-Herald, agrees that canceling student debt is a bad idea. About 34% of Americans born in the United States have a college degree and now about 40% of high school graduates go to college. CSU estimates that the annual cost of university studies on the Fort Collins campus is $ 28,988. A college degree or above increases an individual’s access to job opportunities, advancement, job satisfaction, economic stability, and earning potential. Nowadays, the university also has a significantly higher cost. According to a forbes.com article, the cost of a four-year degree doubled over the 25-year period ending in 2016. This significant increase led to 54% of students taking out student loans totaling 1.57 trillion dollars. The amount of individual debt increases with graduate degrees. 44.7 million people have student debt, 92% of which are federally guaranteed student loans. The average student loan is $ 37,584. Yes, a college degree is expensive.
As of June 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics median annual difference between educational levels proves the value of higher education. The median annual salary for a high school diploma is $ 38,792, the median annual salary for a two-year associate’s degree is $ 46,124, the median annual salary for a bachelor’s degree is 64,896; the median annual salary for a master’s degree is $ 77,844; and the median annual salary for a doctorate is $ 97,926. Of course, at each level of education there will be extremes of income, both higher and lower, depending on factors such as specific degree and marketability.
Using this difference in median salary multiplied over a 40-year professional career gives a perspective on the value of higher education versus a high school diploma. An associate’s degree is worth an additional $ 300,000. A bachelor’s degree is worth an additional $ 1 million. A master’s degree is worth an additional $ 1.5 million. And a doctorate is worth an additional $ 2.3 million.
Based on the large increases in income with each additional level of education over high school graduation, people who have taken out student loans should be able to afford their own education. The federal government could only cancel the 92% that are government guaranteed loans, but not the 8% of privately funded student loans. This would add $ 1.45 trillion more to the national debt. The national debt is already booming. Adding this huge deficit drives the cost to all taxpayers. There are many valid reasons why someone would choose not to go to college. Yet canceling student loan debt would disproportionately burden the 60% of high school workers who are at the bottom of the pay scale with higher taxes. At the same time, it would essentially be a matter of distributing aid to the highest income levels.
What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Why should low income people help pay for someone else’s college education? Is it fair for people who have worked hard to pay for their college education? Is it fair to the families who are helping the student? Is it fair to those who have paid off their loans?
The cancellation of student debt is just another bad socialist idea. If you don’t agree with canceling student loans, let your government officials know how you feel.
Larry Hagan has lived in Loveland for approximately 32 years. He retired after 35 years in the pharmaceutical industry and still has a thriving small business with his wife and employees in Loveland. He served in the Air Force in the early 1970s and has two master’s degrees in business. He made his way to college without taking any loans or any help.