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Personal responsibility with compassion

There’s been a lot of talk lately about student loan debt forgiveness. While I personally have tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt and would greatly benefit from such a plan, I believe it to be the wrong one. The government first created this crisis with guaranteeing private loans and then also providing loans themselves. Subsequently in 2005 the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act was passed with the help of Senator Biden, meaning that students still have to pay off their loans even if they declare bankruptcy. All of this has increased the cost of college tuition by over 497 percent from 1985 to 2017, more than twice the rate of inflation. Instead of shifting the burden from student borrowers to taxpayers as a whole (many of whom had to make the choice to either accept the loan debt or forgo college entirely) we need a systemic change.

The Department of Education needs to take a step back from making and guaranteeing loans so that lenders will have to assess the risk of the loans they’re issuing. The current option of making income-based payments should be continued as it does help students that are struggling. Lastly, student debt needs to be dischargeable in bankruptcy. All of this would be a systemic change that would reign in ballooning college costs, transfer the risk to lenders, and make sure that students choose to go to college for a reason and not “just to go.” Higher education should be for the necessary learning and training needed for your chosen field. In short, this plan balances personal responsibility with compassion for those truly drowning in debt, without unduly burdening others.

BRANDON LYON

Johnstown

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