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

If OP stands for Original Poster, note that the OP is the user johsmother. I expect she left the thread long ago.

No, and you’ve quoted me selectively there. I said, “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.” If it’s years since they sat and unburdened themselves to you, then no, probably not. Relationship is still there? I don’t see why they wouldn’t unless they were in some way feeling awkward about it.

Relationships with students wane. It happens to me, too. Over time, I find they like to send the good news. Once in a while an old student will come back because they have a serious problem and they thought of something I said to them long ago (invariably I’ve forgotten ever having said it), but it doesn’t happen often, and come to think of it I can’t recall ever having gone back to an old prof with a problem like that. The students I maintain relationships with after graduation – different story entirely, but they’re pretty few.

The more elite, the more scar tissue. Rough crowd, those chairs. One of my favorite scenes involving an academic is in The Ghost Writer – the guy goes out to the CT woods to visit some old Harvard prof and his wife in their well-appointed home, and the prof huffs and puffs out all professorial to meet him, but once he understands what the dude is after, he becomes a very dangerous customer in a spot-on way. It’s just gorgeous. All the details in that scene are exaggerated but right on. You don’t get and keep the prestige spots just by being a bright light.

They already do, most of them. Not a lot of them are rich kids fully supported by family.

I’m familiar with this idea that everyone just hates paying taxes more than anything and takes it as a personal affront, but I live in a place where people voluntarily stick around and pay relatively high taxes on for the region on uninspiring HHI so that we can have a nice city for everyone. Decent schools and rec facilities, nice libraries, good transit system, summer festivals, programs for seniors, environmental programs, well-staffed social services, etc.

Of course. And I’m not obliged to be perfectly representative, and neither is anyone else here, despite the wild claims people make all over this website. Rhetorical badgering, attempting to undercut what people are saying by declaring it imperfectly globally representative, doesn’t invalidate a long view from a place that’s a very ordinary in a large part of the US. But you are entirely free to refuse to accept it for whatever reasons you have. Nobody’s forcing anything on you.

I think it’d certainly help. There’d still be parents in a serious bind because they just don’t know much about money, didn’t realize how serious it’d be to take out PLUS loans, and now are in a real fix. But I sure wouldn’t say no to the $27K, that’s a big deal.

How is that the first kid’s fault?

Saving money for college here has not been easy – there hasn’t been much to work with – but my kid’s all set because I came from a place and a family where college is viewed as vitally important and money conversations happen openly and frequently. I did the math before I got pregnant, handled the investments myself, kept course-correcting the projections, all the stuff you’d do with a good advisor. Spreadsheets all over full of various scenarios. Barring catastrophe, she’ll come out without debt. It took a lot of time, a lot of late nights, along with all the penny-pinching. But I don’t mind paying higher taxes to help kids who didn’t have parents with that background and motivation, which I would guess is most of them. I would however like for the kids to understand why those taxes exist, and how we hope they’ll pay the help forward to another generation of young strangers with whom they share a society. That’s how you get kind people who feel themselves to be part of that society and in some way responsible to it.

Glad you are basing your views on “elite college endowed chairs” on a movie made in 2010. And I believe everything I saw in “Love Story”.


Good to hear we’re all open to ideas. I think a simple approach would be:

  1. As @ChangeTheGame wrote (for existing debt) - “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.”

  2. Free CC for all. That will expand availability. No debt allowed.

  3. Tighten admission requirements to state run colleges. That way they will not need to spend precious resources on remedial education (that can be done in CC). Place lower caps on debt allowed for State U students. Free CC is better than State U + debt

  4. Job preferences for state jobs to graduates of State U with highest levels of debt.

  5. Free trade schools for students who do not value the college route.


Yikes. Unless we want to institutionalize non-competitive hiring for lots of mission critical roles that require a high degree of talent, initiative, etc. this is not a workable idea. You want to hire an actuary-- one of the key roles for any state that cares about the health of its pension system- based on debt levels vs. competence? I don’t think so. You want to hire for environmental protection, state prosecutors, the team that ensures the integrity of the election system, the team that manages debt financing for bridges/critical infrastructure on the basis of their debt?

And trade school doesn’t need to be free. In many parts of the country, a licensed electrician or plumber makes more money than many college educated “professional” jobs. Better to take a whack at the outmoded way people enter the trades in many places- Daddy saves them a spot, pushes them to the front of the line.

I’d get behind some of this, especially (2), (4), and (5). (4) especially would do some very interesting and, I think, ameliatory things in state govts. (3) is discussed routinely (and with some desperation) at state Us that aren’t highly-ranked, but the practical problems involve collapse of revenues and the fact that constituents will likely pitch a fit – you’d also have to expand the CCs quite a bit. I don’t actually have a problem with that route, or with much smaller selective state Us, even though it’d likely be personally expensive, and you’d have to sit through a bunch of lawsuits from AAUP and the like, but this is also okay by me. You’d also have to arrange for virtual interstate access for small-state students to resources at big-state public Us – libraries, facilities, specialties, etc. that could no longer be supported. In a sense the big states would wind up directly subsidizing the small ones, or there’d have to be federal funding to support fee-for-service, small-state-U to big-state-U.

Employment would also remain a problem for kids coming out of CC with an AA, which doesn’t mean, on the job market, what a BA does. The 2+2 programs are well-advertised but it’s pretty spotty, how they actually work. Some of them are very well-integrated; in other places AA is not meant to replace two years of university, and if you make university selective, you exacerbate that problem.

  1. Everyone wants free money but a loan is a choice. You wanna dance you gotta pay the band.

  2. Not everyone belongs in a 4 year college. Make a state u degree mean something - if a student needs remedial work, get it at a CC and prove you’ve got the chops.

  3. If you complete an AA at CC and need more apply to state u.

  4. If a state u graduate ins’t good enough for a state job that should raise alarms


(1) It’s not a choice if there’s no other realistic path for an individual to a job with a salary they can live on. I’m happy to take down fantasies generally put forward along that line. Fyi, though there’s a particular poster who may pop in on this point to respond, I can’t see her messages and will not be responding to them, partly because the comments tend to go ad hominem in a hurry. Wish her well, etc.

(2) remedial CC->selective state U is not going to be a realistic path unless you want the person in school fulltime for six years, and unless the students consent to delaying starting their working lives till their mid-20s. Trying to go part-time in order to work frequently leads to much higher debt levels and dropping out.

(3) you handle the “best person for the job” complaint with hiring preferences, just as you do for any other AA program. Or, um, elite college admission.

Nope. A loan is a choice. I know you may not agree with that, but that’s OK, it’s still a choice.

CC–>state u selective or otherwise is also a choice, made on an individual basis. Hopefully, most students after a CC will be able the weigh the costs and benefits. If their working lives include paying jobs I’m sure they’ll do the right thing.

The State’s gotta do what the state’s gotta do. If they are as successful in that as the elite colleges are they’ll prove their competence. (not waiting on that to happen)

A loan is certainly a choice.

That and there are lots of people that didn’t go to college that make great money. I work with plenty of them. I work with welders, electricians, painters, machinists, technicians, supply personnel, drivers, etc that make $30-$50 per hour all without a college education. People have choices. They might have to actually move to take advantage of those choices but that can also be the car with a college degree.


A supposed academic who puts other posters on block because they disagree on views? Well, that tells me everything I need to know about poster and her employer. Best wishes, etc.


What percentage of them are women? Fyi, if you’re going to talk about women’s choices in these fields, 40 years’ worth of evidence against is lined up and ready to torpedo the point.

Beyond that, I notice that the people who advocate for trades almost never work in trades, and almost never have to retire on disability in their late 40s, early 50s. Nor do they seem to want to recognize that the trades and university paths are converging and at points have already converged because the trades themselves are much more complex than they used to be.

It sounds lovely and zen, but in real people’s real lives, the choices are constrained, and sometimes you get one option, which means that it is not a choice. Again, that is, unless you’re willing to acknowledge behavior at gunpoint as a choice.

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Since it appears the state in question is SC, I looked into various options. Several community colleges offer certificates as electrician (as one skilled trade) for example- the tuition is less than 5k/year, the salary and growth potential are solid. An appealing option for some.

Real people make real choices all the time, and live up to the commitments they make. Like the choice to take a loan and pay it back in good faith. That’s a choice. Some people may think that anything but a 4 year college is beneath them. It is not.


You also don’t have to take a loan to go to college. You can work at Starbucks and go to ASU online. You can work at UPS. Military. National Guard in some states. Several states have CC for free and have for many years. If you are low income, you can get a Pell grant, SEOG grant and some state grants that would cover CC and a low price state university.


With it not being mentioned last night, do y’all think canceling any amount is now “dead?” Or will it resurface when payments resume in Oct?

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Free things are never free. One thing you give up is control. Currently in the US you get decide what you want to study and assuming you’re accepted where you get to study it. If you want to study basket weaving at X university then it’s up to you. You get accepted to the program and pay the bill. How is up to you. When the government (us) begins to pay eventually they’ll demand control. We will begin to see a system much more like Europe where you have much less flexibility in what you study or where you study it. I prefer decisions such as “free” community college remain at the state level. With few exceptions they are state schools and as such local control would have a much better handle on things than a federal program. They are also much more likely to have an interest in controlling the costs than a federal program. I appreciate the fact that someone in their late teens and early 20’s really doesn’t have a clue what the debt means but they also don’t have a clue as to what chaining themselves to future obligations (for everyone) means either.


Who knows? It could. I have held back in terms of commenting about this issue because I think it is such a thorny problem with few solutions that seem both equitable and effective. I think we can all agree that college costs have gotten out of hand - especially at public institutions (privates are private and can price accordingly). I am less certain about the best (or even, possible) way to address it.


I doubt that it is completely dead. It’s possibly shifted to the back burner.

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I don’t think it is dead, but the President has not been very “enthusiastic” to talk about cancelling student loans. I believe that he may kick this one down to Congress and let them try and figure out something. The amount of money either approved or proposed for Covid Relief, National Infrastructure projects, Universal Pre-K and 2 years of free community college along with the possible tax increases and possible permanent child tax credit has already put forth a pretty ambitious agenda.