President Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which would erase up to $20,000 of debt for millions of Americans, has been both hailed as much-needed relief and derided as unfair.

The argument against it frames the issue of college debt as a matter of personal choice: students opted to go to college—fully understanding the cost and freely taking out loans to pay for it. Their debt is their issue. Following that line of thinking, the program simply provides a handout to undeserving borrowers.

Is the pushback simply a case of political divisiveness (marking any move by Biden as flawed)? Is it centered on perceived inequity (why provide debt relief to some when most must deal with the financial consequences of their decisions on their own)? Or, does the resistance represent a lack of understanding of how individual debt and consumption affect the overall economy?


study by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association found that financial concerns were the most common reason for leaving college before attaining a degree. Those who leave still have to pay back their loans, though, and those loans can cause financial distress for decades. A 2019 TIAA-MIT AgeLab Study found that 84 percent of Americans can’t save enough for retirement because of their student loans. Those same loans have made it much more difficult to purchase a home, according to CNBC, and student loan borrowers are also less likely to qualify for auto loans. Read the full article here.