Student loan forgiveness a good first step

On August 24th, President Joe Biden announced that Americans who earn less than $125,000 annually would receive up to $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness, while those who received Pell Grants would have up to $20,000 forgiven.

The real question is: Is this enough?

For years, the cost of attending post-high school education has been becoming more and more unaffordable for the general population at public 4-year institutions where average tuition and fees were $9,400 in 2020–21, about 10 percent higher than they were in 2010–11, according to the Na- tional Center for Education Statistics.

With college becoming more expensive, it becomes harder for average working-class citizens to decline loans and pay for education out of pocket. While loans allow an affordable education at the moment, they can cripple an individual post-graduation who would have to pay up to $300 back a month on their loan.

Post-high school education is almost a necessity in society today. Annually, median earnings for a bachelor’s degree are about 84 percent higher than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Low-income individuals are met with an almost impossible choice, either go to college only to be crippled by debt or earn significantly less without a degree.

By forgiving a portion of student debt, the Biden administration takes a necessary step at relieving the weight off of many people’s shoulders while giving them more economic freedom. However, this is only a temporary solution to an increasing debt problem across American academia. Students are still in debt, and student loans are still being taken out. Student loans and post-high school education continue to divide America economically.

Total student loan forgiveness seems like a far- fetched idea for the more moderate Biden administration. However, loan forgiveness now sets up the possibility of total forgiveness by a potential later administration, and maybe even free college tuition down the road.

While many agree that this is a good step, and a good look for Biden, many are left wanting more, which may not come as soon as people hope.