President Biden’s silver lining

Dafny Flores, Staff Writer

College is a life achievement implemented to people from the start. We ask kids about their future plans: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” While inviting local business owners and zookeepers to the classroom to talk about their responsibilities while casually mentioning, “I had to go to a special school.” As students get older, schools hold career days in the middle of the school year to help students think about their future. Within time, career days became college fairs. All of this is an optimistic plan to maneuver without a reliable system.

On Aug. 24, President Joe Biden announced a three-part plan for student loan forgiveness — primarily a plan targeted to relieve debt for low and middle class families. Since college debt is an on-going financial burden for families and individuals who are trying to build their wealth, Biden’s plan will relieve debt cancellation up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients. This plan is the start of an opportunity for many people, President Biden called it, “That’s what today’s announcement is about. It’s about opportunity.  It’s about giving people a fair shot. It’s about the one word America can be defined by: possibilities. It’s all about providing possibilities.

Calling college debt forgiveness “elitist” is not appropriate, it’s an insult. Many people have relied on college as a ticket into the middle class — a supposed safe zone to live comfortably. Yet, that cannot happen with a financial burden. College students and adults work multiple jobs to pay for college while acquiring loans from the government. It’s not an easy job to attend four different lectures, work 20-30 hours and maintain a healthy, active social life every week for 16 weeks. It is a painful reality. 

Student loan forgiveness is the beginning of the end for this financial burden. Adults will not have an extra bill to pay for the month. A side job should not be an option for most people as their primary career should be financially reliable. The wealth they earn should be saved or spent to meet their families’ needs. Student loan forgiveness will help people from being overworked and labeled as a workaholic — a term which hyper-fixes the issue on work, and may have underlying problems to gain more money.

Students simply want to make their families and their childhood self proud. They want to make a name and life for themselves. It does not come easy. Assistance from the government and college slightly makes a difference, but eventually, students will pay the price. Opponents of student loan forgiveness who have the mentality of “I suffered and so should you,” should realize there are multiple factors differentiating the situation. State and local governments have an effect on this as well. Forbes states, “When public colleges have less state and local funding, it’s more likely they’ll pass costs on to students in the form of tuition increases, according to a 2019 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”

Instead of trying to find fault with students and their families for not owning up to their responsibilities, people should look at how the system is broken. It is not a secret that universities are known as a cash grab for all the additional fees students do not use. It’s a waste of money for some. The cost of attendance has tripled since the 1980s as the cost of living rises. In 1980, the tuition for a four-year college was $10,231. Now, there’s a 180% increase, totaling the cost to $28,755. Often, the cost of attendance is broken down into four categories: tuition, room, board and transportation.Most students do not know where their money goes. Students do not take advantage of the paid services and let money they cannot afford go to waste. Most institutions use their students’ money for on-going construction before it will ever be allowed to use. 

Student loan forgiveness is the start in breaking a generational curse. Our caregivers and media outlets have burdened our younger-selves to obtain a college degree, but at the cost of not fully disclosing the pay and liability students will experience. While student loan forgiveness may not seem enough as of right now, it will in the future.