The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday December 7th

Editorial: Student loans are paused – but we need more.

DTH Photo Illustration. Biden announced student loan debt relief plan on Aug. 24, 2022.
Buy Photos DTH Photo Illustration. Biden announced student loan debt relief plan on Aug. 24, 2022.

What is perceived as the "golden ticket" into a white-collar job will put the average person about $39,351 in debt.

This golden ticket – a college degree – leaves 60.5 percent of those who attend graduate school and 54.2 percent of undergraduate students with often tremendous amounts of federal loan debt, according to EducationData.org.

And most, around 53 percent, of those recent graduates are unemployed or underemployed, according to research from the University of Washington.

Constant discussion is being raised about the overbearing cost of higher education, the concerning amount of money people have borrowed and the people who have a degree but aren’t using it. 

We, as students, run the risk of fitting into one or more of these categories. 

While it's easy to simply suggest that our student loans be forgiven, it's more important to note that education is simply too expensive and inaccessible for most Americans. At the same time, a college degree is necessary to earn livable wages and have desirable career outcomes in today's economic climate.

This past week in particular has been of great importance to people who have taken out loans to pay for their education. Millions of borrowers have been waiting in the shadows to hear whether President Joe Biden will extend the pause on federal student loan payments that is set to expire at the end of this month. Student loan debt payments have been frozen since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Wednesday, Aug. 24, Biden announced he will extend the freeze on payback payments until the end of the year and that loan forgiveness will be granted to borrowers. 

Borrowers who hold loans with the Department of Education and make less than $125,000 a year are eligible for $20,000 in loan forgiveness if they received Pell Grants, and $10,000 in loan forgiveness if they did not receive such grants. 

The president emphasized that around 90 percent of the eligible beneficiaries — middle-class and lower-income citizens — make less than $75,000 a year, insinuating that the income cap would include both targeted groups this reform hoped to reach. 

The Department of Education has promised to announce further details providing information regarding applications in the next coming weeks. The process for the application is intended to be harmless, simply proving annual income.

 The loan forgiveness will be extended to borrowers over a period to avoid a spike in inflation, which is something that already consumes many worries of the American public. 

This appears to be a step in the right direction for issuing major reform to America’s student loan system. It also brings to fruition a campaign promise of President Biden's. 

It may also be of some comfort to know that the president understands the burden of student loans and can voice the concerns expressed by many Americans. 

He believes that education is viewed as important but that over time it has become too expensive for too many people. He also believes that those who graduate may not be granted access to the middle-class life a college degree once promised. 

While many rejoice, there is still much action that needs to be taken to fix a broken system such as the education system and the lofty payments concerning higher education. 

Most know that in order to find a solution to a problem you must follow it back to the source. That source is the price tag on education. 

With so many dollar signs on one price tag, it is hard to reconcile the excitement of thousands of dollars in loan forgiveness when better outcomes, such as those offered by a degree, come with such a high price — literally. 

@dthopinion

opinion@dailytarheel.com

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