December 7, 2021
By: Freedom to Prosper Team
Student debt is a phrase with many negative connotations and infers a heavy burden on the individual. However, in the debates over addressing astronomic levels of student loan debt, we often fail to think about what student debt truly means to society. It is time to shift the narrative: when a student has significant debt, we need to think of it as a societal investment on our collective future.
Let’s remember that college and university students are people who make significant contributions to society and our economy. Education benefits everyone in the community, state, and nation. Therefore, the costs of that education should be equitably shared.
Those who invest the time and energy to obtain a college degree should not be punished for helping the economy grow by requiring a huge loan burden and repayment that often takes more than a decade. Instead, students seeking higher learning should be fairly compensated for their contributions to economic growth.
Taking out a student loan gives Americans the opportunity to go to college when otherwise financially impossible. These loans endow students with pivotal experiences, expand worldviews, and prepare students for enriching careers. And for many marginalized students, taking loans is the only path to a college education– a way out of poverty. As we all know, a college education is becoming more and more of a prerequisite for surviving America’s inequitable economy.
For Americans from low-income backgrounds, there is often no other option but to take out student loans and a college education is critical in breaking the cycle of poverty. Research shows that Black families tend to take out more loans than white families. Student loans allow BIPOC Americans the opportunity to receive a higher education, a relatively recent opportunity in the arc of American history.
Not only do student loans create opportunities for students, especially marginalized students, but they are also an investment with payoffs for all of society. Allowing more Americans to pursue higher learning is undoubtedly a great thing for society.
Doctors must attend many years of school before giving back to their community– the average med student has $241,600 in total student loan debt. Odds are many of your doctors are still paying off their student loan debt. Colleges produce the engineers who build our roads, seismically retrofit buildings, and create innovative technologies. Arts and humanities majors go on to produce art of all kinds that we as a society enjoy. Social science majors study questions key to human existence.
When someone takes out a loan to pursue higher education and their goals, we as a society are all beneficiaries. So, let’s start thinking about student loans on the societal level. This is the reason that a public education, including at the postsecondary level, should be provided without charging for tuition and fees. It is also the reason that debt cancellation should be afforded to all student loan borrowers.
Acknowledging the necessity behind the loans is a pivotal step in the movement to eliminate all student debt. The Biden Administration is already taking steps to eliminate student loans for borrowers, and over $11 billion has already been cancelled this year alone. Join our movement to #CancelStudentDebt today.
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