College funding is severed

I’ve never been one to kick someone out of a lifeboat or close the escape doors once I’ve walked through them. Maybe that’s why I don’t see any problem with giving up student loans.

Is it good for the economy that a brilliant third-year chemistry student earns $10 an hour because he no longer qualifies for financial aid? Can we do without the family they would create if they had financial security? Likewise, what is the benefit to society when parents who take PLUS loans have their wages garnished due to factors they cannot control?

Students and parents who take out loans have a choice, but it is an immoral choice. The American dream of wealth through education lies just beyond a dangerous money pit. According to a financial aid counselor I once overheard speaking to a college student, “You have to beg, borrow, and steal to pay for your education, that’s how it is.”

This “everyone’s been there, so now you have to do this” attitude is seen a lot in medicine. Doctors work incredibly long shifts compared to the rest of us. Whenever there’s an effort to make shifts conform to more normal lengths, salty doctors come out of the woodwork and say, “I had to go through this, and now everyone after me should too.” Meanwhile, overworked doctors make more mistakes.

It is important to note that while proposals have been floated, no student loan forgiveness has yet been extended to the general public. Currently, only students at several for-profit colleges — or students who have become “totally” and “permanently” disabled — have received pardons.

More recently, Corinthian College, but also ITT Tech, DeVry University and others have been found guilty of defrauding their students. Fortunately, the Ministry of Education has canceled student loans taken out by students at these schools.

What is often glossed over in the student loan debate is that getting a degree in no way guarantees wealth. There are people with advanced degrees who earn $15 an hour – and they are expected to accept a monthly payment of $500 just six months after graduation. It’s so unrealistic that I almost worry about the people who can do it.

“I come from a working-class family. My parents took out Plus Loans and desperate to make something of myself, I took out tens of thousands of student loans,” Nikole Hannah-Jones said. “After paying off many multiples of my original debt, at 45, I finally paid them back. I would wish that on anyone behind me.

Most people who have had higher education have noted how unfair and socio-economically stratified they are. Well, student loan forgiveness is the loss of this morally questionable setup. Sure, a sweeping congressional bill that reinvents everything from scratch would be nice, but we may have to wait until the end of time before that happens. It’s like that.

Judy Heft is the CEO/Founder of Judith Heft & Associates, a financial and lifestyle concierge that celebrates 26 years in the business of helping people stay financially organized. She is a certified financial coach and the author of “How to be smart, successful and organized with your money” and co-author of “Mastering your financial life cycles”. She is the host of the “Mastering your Financial Life” podcast. For more information, visit www.judithheft.com.

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