Curious about how others are feeling about "canceling" student loans

All wealth should be shard. Everything put into one bucket and evenly divided. Only then will we achieve a just and fair society.

Parents will be getting $250-300 per child per month. Could they save this, or buy a 529 plan or prepaid tuition plan? Yes. Will they? No.

This has already caused big issues with the divorced parents I know. They made certain financial arrangements not considering this money and now they want it considered. A family I know with 6 children (not divorced) will get $1550 per month and they haven’t lost any income during covid (he’s in the army).

I do not think the children living in poverty will suddenly NOT be in poverty, that their parents will spend this money on better housing and better food.


Um…okay? I guess that’s one way of deciding that it isn’t happening; decide that the person who’s telling you these things has just made it all up, and hasn’t spent most of her last decade surrounded by young adults and talking with them.

And I’m thinking your income’s considerably lower than most of the parents’ on this board. (It’s considerably higher than mine, but I’m single-income.) Like most big state Us, this one has a mix of Pell-to-full-pay in-state students, wealthier students from OOS, and Prada-handbag-carrying students from overseas (though fewer than before). This is a poorish state, though, so the skew in the in-state parents is getting-by. I’ve met an uncomfortably large number of students who help to support their parents and other family members while still in school – their part-time job money pays mom’s cellphone bill. I’d say it’s representative of a wide swath of the country, though imo it bears almost no relationship to coasts either in extremes or in how poverty works.

Ah. Yeah. So I’m sure at least some of them are sincere about that. But they also like and respect you. Unless you make it plain to them that the complaints counter is open, and they’re still close with you, they’re not going to share with you their late-night regrets and worries. What for, and why bring you down? Like I said, these are practical people.

I used to wonder how my office had become the therapy, traumatic life story, whispered-disclosure, coming-out, and “I hate this place” office, apart from the fact that I keep a couple of armchairs there, so after a few years I just started asking the kids why this was happening and whether they talked with all their profs & staff like this. And the answer in various forms was that they knew I wasn’t going to try to ■■■■■■■■ them into believing how wonderful everything was and also people don’t want to hear it. Also, I asked, and appeared to want to hear something real. (Which is true, I do.) Then of course they’d fall all over themselves apologizing for complaining and I’d have to assure them that it wasn’t necessary.

@hebegebe, I don’t think anyone’s saying that the towering endowments don’t pay some student tuitions. They do. The scale of the endowments, though, are so wildly out of proportion to the student-tuition coverage that it’s a little silly to point to them and say “that’s what they’re for.” Likewise, I bet any money that the faculty in the depts and courses you mention would absolutely howl with desperate laughter if you suggested to them that the endowments were the piggy banks keeping them alive. They’re all covered in scar tissue from trying to get at that endowment money, and without going near their details I know that admin are sadistic pros in making them dance in hopes of getting some. And then dashing those hopes. How do you keep faculty dancing? Now and then, pick a bone out of some part of the endowment and toss it at a favorite. It’s almost too easy. You have to remember that universities are like courts, right down to “kings come and go, but the aristocracy are forever”. Come on: if you’re full pay at Harvard, you know that the way to get rich and stay that way isn’t to keep handing it out the window like that.

It’s hard to look at endowed chairs in subjects as arcane as Egyptology, Classical Architecture, Ethno-musicology, Comparative Theology, etc. (just to pick a random group I found at a bunch of Elite/Big Endowment U’s) and figure that those faculty members are covered in scar tissue. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


Cue two million Gen Zers lecturing you on the differences between equality and equity.

I wouldn’t be so quick to assume that they won’t save money for college if they’ve got their basics covered. I’m also not a fan of 529s for people who have nothing else in reserve, because if the market tanks close to freshman year, they can’t do anything but ride the rollercoaster down, and it’s unlikely they’re financially savvy enough to have planned ahead for any such thing. If you’re poor, and you can’t afford to risk your dough, little-old-lady saving is for you. Gambling is for rich people.

$250 can mean a whole lot if you’re poor. It can mean another bedroom, a bike, more food, clothing that’s new and not just for the oldest kid, a repair, a rest, a bill paid rather than deferred…yeah, at that level it’s meaningful.

I can’t think why anyone would be upset to hear about a family with six kids getting an extra $1550 a month unless they’re already loaded. I have my own ideas about family planning, but if the kid is a fact, I want the kid well-taken-care-of, and the parents too.

No, we mean the full gamut of southern Ontario from Ottawa to Windsor, where the bulk of students reside.

Mount Allison is not a school that most top students would aspire to attend as it’s not very selective for admission (nor btw are any of the other similarly small LAC style universities in the Maritimes or any of the primarily undergraduate schools in Ontario). Recent data published by the Ontario application processing centre reveals that this year in particular, applications to the large public research universities are up significantly and applications to the smaller primarily undergraduate schools are down. If I were to speculate as to why, I would point to a similar data trend showing a significant increase in applications to pre-professional and professional programs like Engineering, Computer Science, Business, Nursing, and Psychology. Programs that many of the smaller schools either don’t offer or which don’t have as good of a reputation. The competition by top students to get into the “best” of these programs has hit the stratosphere because so many of them (and their parents) are stressing about post-graduation employment outcomes. Students are truly worried that they will end up working minimum wage jobs or end up with precarious work in the gig economy. They are seeking a strong ROI on their investment on their post-secondary education.

No in that you are correct. Students and their parents are stressing for admission to top programs. It’s about the academics and the advantage (perceived or real) garnered in attending them for landing good jobs after graduation or for being admitted to competitive professional and graduate programs. No different I would imagine than students crushing to get into Harvard because they want a strong launch into IB. The oft repeated mantra of Waterloo engineering students with regards to co-op placements is “Cali or bust”.

Those who can always will. Those who can’t never will. Simple.

I don’t think people are upset if the family genuinely needs it, but again that money has to come from somewhere. And it’s being doled out like candy with the atm on auto-restock. Also, if you decide to have 6 kids, then be prepared to take care of 6 kids.

I’m glad to hear your students are all in on sharing their income with society at large and am looking forward to all of them becoming federal income taxpayers ASAP :wink:.


You seem to feel you have the world figured out in a way the rest of us are “just not seeing.” That you have some “special” insight to the minds of the younger generation that others just don’t have. This is self-aggrandizing type thinking that is no longer relevant to the original topic of this thread. There is no need for the condescending tone of each reply. It does not speak to a willingness to show respect to other posters who have differing takes on things. The fact that you are apparently employed in academics yet can’t seem to respond to a post without some level of snark is somewhat concerning. Aren’t we (the adults) supposed to be the mature ones?


If only the world were as simple as you seem to think it is.


Makes me so happy at the college education my S received.

Are we comparing? Because I have two decades of listening…

Which state? You don’t have to say which U, just which state. CC is large and there are probably other people from your state on here. I’m sure what you are hearing is what you are hearing, I just want to know how widespread it is or if it is a matter of “birds of a feather flock together.” I’d like more than one data point.

We have quite a few of these at our school. They can pay the electric bill, rent, etc. Sometimes it’s because the parents fritter away their own income and other times it’s due to causes beyond their control - medical for adults can be a biggie. Kids are covered by CHIP. Parents are not.

It’s why I want to see college become more affordable around here for those who want to go there. Trade schools too, because those aren’t cheap either.

So… you think the same kids who will share some of their deepest darkest secrets about their families or relationships or personal fears won’t be telling me the truth about their college experiences? Really? Or is it you not wanting to believe it as you accused me of with your experiences?


Perhaps OP should stop validating her students’ feelings of victimhood, and encourage self help. Many, many adults major in subjects ( like accounting, for example) which they do not particularly like but which will provide a solid stable income. For the same reason, many people accept jobs they may not find interesting but which compensate them well. Your students would be better served by your silencing the complaint sessions and brainstorming first on what they need to do to get the financial security they lack.


I think loans should be forgiven for poor kids who need to take out a lot of loans to go to college to begin with. That said, we should definitely do more to make state universities more affordable and accessible. And make scholarships more accessible to kids who are needy as well.
I don’t think loans should be forgiven for middle or upper middle class kids who could go to their instate university and graduate without debt, but don’t want to go to their instate school. Instead they take out a lot of debt to go to an expensive private school like NYU or George Washington and take out a lot of loans. Or they go to an expensive far away OOS public flagship. Or they give up a full ride or great financial aid at a private school, but that school isn’t their first choice and they want to go to another school that isn’t offering good financial aid. In these instances, I don’t think loans should be forgiven…


I’m not in support of cancelling student debt. If, however, we as a country go down this road your post identifies all the difficulties in identifying who’s debt actually gets cancelled? Consider two 23 year old graduates with the same amount of debt. One incurred debt at Sate U and and thre other at expensive Private U. Do both have their debt cancelled? How about debt held by students who never finished a degree? Should debt forgiveness be tied back to families income?


This is why I’m in favor of up to 27K (the amount normal students could have had in federal loans at the school of their choice). It not only would eliminate the bitterness between groups, it also would likely be less costly overall than the manpower and paperwork to figure out who is in which group.

Then up to 27K going forward to all (over 4 years, not each year). If, as a country, we wanted to settle for 10K or anywhere between the two, I’d be on board. It won’t pay for it all for most, but it will help those who need it without the bitterness between any groups.

Colleges need money to run and most don’t have super high endowments. We (as a country) want some of the top notch academic facilities and equipment, plus paid experts teaching/researching. I can’t see many colleges coming down in cost a ton.

The problem with just going for free cc (that’s a start) is some ccs aren’t really all that good compared to others. Naturally I live in one of those areas. It will work for some things, but not, say, engineering. Use the same amount and let the student choose where to take it.

There are so many “in-betweens” that an absolute declaration does not cover. What If a poor kid immediately starts making a lot of money after graduation? Should they not pay a dime for their education? What if a middle class kid’s family did not save a dime for their higher education so they take out loans to their in-state public while another household saves every extra penny for a student’s college education? Who is being penalized for those different life philosophies with loan forgiveness? What if an upper class kid’s family cuts them off because they are not following his or her parents plan?

I have seen all of those situations occur up close and more which makes the answer/fix more complex. Take a smaller percentage of income until the loan is paid, lower the interest rates, or let people serve in the communities to “forgive” debt, but to just erase it creates a bad precedent.


Agree totally with @ChangeTheGame -

“Take a smaller percentage of income until the loan is paid, lower the interest rates, or let people serve in the communities to “forgive” debt, but to just erase it creates a bad precedent.”

It just has to do with marinating in them and watching the attitudes change with the generations and their circumstances. If you want that kind of insight, come work in academia and spend a lot of time in hallways and on zoom and in office meetings just talking with the kids about their lives. Read what they write. I’m sure that in your industry you see all kinds of things I can’t see. Again, if you don’t want the news, you don’t have to hear it.

Instead, I suggest that everyone should search out for multiple sources to make sure that you are getting the most accurate information - free of bias. One person - one opinion. Many in academia have different view from the OP. Many on CC certainly do.