Student loan relief sends the wrong message to our young people

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Regarding “What Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Means for 3.6 Million Indebted Texans” (August 24): Let me start on a personal level with my real-life experiences. My close friends and I grew up in the East End of Houston. Almost no one I knew had enough money to go to college. However, most of us who wanted to improve with a degree found a way. First we stayed home and went to the University of Houston. Out-of-state schools were out of the question. No fraternities. No parties or fancy cars. Second, we made our way through college. HU’s co-operative education program is a great example of one way to do this. You alternately work one semester and then go to school the next semester. Some of us, including me, participated in the GI Bill. A friend of mine went to school on an athletic scholarship. Today, grants are available. Finally, we chose degrees that can earn real money. Most of my best friends who started with nothing do very well. One is a lawyer and the other has two doctorates.

My good friend used to say “Where there is a will, there is a way!” None of us borrowed any money. None of us sat down and wished for alms – mainly because there were none. From the time I left high school until I retired at 66, I either had a job, went to school, or served in the military. It was the culture then and it should be today.

I am deeply concerned about the message that student loan forgiveness sends to young people in our country. What does it say to younger people when they see a family earning $250,000 a year getting loan forgiveness? What precedent does it set? Are we going to start again in five years?

In the business world, the concept of “front loading” is used. This is where you don’t have to solve the problem at the end, because the focus is on the beginning. Without front loading, you’re throwing money at a problem that shouldn’t even have happened in the first place. For example, instead of freely giving money, advise individuals on the outcome. Ask yourself, should you apply for a loan, go to an expensive school, and pursue college that has no payback? Why do you go to a distant and expensive private school, when you don’t have enough money? There are plenty of well-paying jobs that involve training, but not necessarily to the expensive four-year college level. If the government is going to give our money unsecured, at least make sure it makes sense in terms of the potential return on investment.

Don Mendel, Fayetteville

I see many on the right attacking President Biden for forgiving college debt. They say that means blue collar graduates are subsidizing white collar graduates. Yet these same people voted to give huge tax breaks to very high income earners when President Trump was in office. So I guess their position is that only the rich deserve a break. Frankly, it is laughable to see these people pretending to support the workers.

Katherine Butler, Houston

If someone who is going to buy a new car or a new house does not have the money to pay, he will look for a lender to lend him the money. Before the lender agrees to lend them the money, they will check whether they have the necessary income to make the payments required to repay the loan and whether their employment seems secure. Student loans are given to students who do not have the income to repay the loans and may not have any income in the future.

Some areas of college study will pay those who study them better than other areas. Mechanical engineering majors might be expected to have higher lifetime earnings than art history majors, for example, but their college expenses at the same school are roughly the same. As a result, the government will loan them the same amount to go to school and then wonder why humanities majors don’t repay their loans after they graduate.

Student loans should be based on a reasonable estimate of the student’s expected income.

By repaying part of the loans, Biden will create an even worse situation. If students know that the government will help them, some of them will probably not repay their loans.

David Reynolds, porter

I think the terminology needs to be clarified. This is not a “relief” or a “pardon”, but a transfer of a voluntary debt to the American taxpayer. And what about those of us who lived below our means, drove used cars, lived in a smaller home, and managed our expenses so we could send our kids to college without debt? Are we entitled to a “rebate” at the expense of the taxpayer? Fool me, that will never happen. How about a pat on the back and recognition for being a productive member of our society instead? And while we are so generous with other people’s money, for example, why not “forgive” the millions of dollars in debt incurred by automotive technicians and held by various tool suppliers to whom they are indebted, for the equipment needed to do their job? It just seems right.

Jeff Kesler, Sugar Land

Ted Cruz is a talkative hypocrite for complaining about student debt forgiveness. Cruz voted for Trump’s tax cut for the rich, which was a slap in the face for ordinary working Americans. At least some of the students ripped off by ridiculous tuition fees will get a break.

Dale Stevens, Planterville

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