Opinion | I am a student against student debt forgiveness

There are already a myriad of ways to get a college education without bailing out people who have no interest in trying.


Ryan Adams

Photo Illustration by Ryan Adams

Ally Pronina, Opinions Columnist

This is a point-counter-point on student-debt forgiveness. An estimated 38.7 million Americans had student loan debt topping $1.6 trillion according to a 2019 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Read our columnist’s article advocating for the cancellation of student debt here.

Biden’s reign of bad ideas has begun.

He called on Congress to forgive $10,000 in student-loan debt. Two-hundred-ten million Americans don’t have student debt. It’s not fair for them to have to pay for those who do. For students who work hard in college, there are plenty of ways to avoid student-loan debt.

One option is getting a job either before or during college. If students work hard during high school and college, they will have options for scholarships – which reduces the amount needed to be taken out in loans – or even gets rid of the whole need for loans.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) takes the financial contributions of a student’s family into consideration. It helps students who come from poor families. The University of Iowa offers a need-based scholarships.

Going to college for a degree should be an investment which you see a return on. Academic advisers and students should steer toward careers that offer financial stability if you decide to take on debt. If you choose a major which aligns with your dreams but also pays well, you should not be struggling financially. After all of your hard work in college, it’s not fair to you.

For anyone who would argue student-loan forgiveness programs help minority students, the UI provides scholarships for minority students. Plus, anyone can receive academic-achievement scholarships. The UI also offers guidance for first-generation students whose families haven’t already navigated the college application process.

As someone who the university considers to be a minority because I have a disability, I find the assumption that just because we are from minority groups, we need student loans and cannot get academic achievement scholarships, offensive.

I am one of those students whom student-loan forgiveness would benefit the most and I am against it. I plan on attending graduate school. It’s not fair for others to pay off my debt just because their dreams lead to them having to pay less for their education.

I knew in high school I would end up going to graduate school after college and have thought things through. I keep a GPA of above 3.3 so I continue receiving an academic-based scholarship. I haven’t, and don’t plan, on taking out student loans.

This isn’t easy. As a psychology major on the Bachelor of Science track, I had to take calculus, neuroscience, and chemistry.  I am currently in biostatistics for psychology on top of other courses, working at The Daily Iowan and in two research labs, and pursuing an honors project.

Plus, I am a journalism major and struggle with anything math related. Having a congenital heart defect, I tire more easily than other college-aged people. Despite that, I have spent most evenings – exhausted after a full day of classes and being all over campus – in my dorm studying or doing homework.

There are students who party instead of study in college and may not be eligible for any academic-based scholarships. I hope you can understand why I don’t want to wake up at 7 a.m. every Saturday to get work done to pay for someone who partied the night before and is going to sleep until noon.

There are people who waste the money they earn on frivolous luxuries other than paying off student debt after college. There are financial tips to pay off student debt quickly. It’s not fair that my friend, who worked three jobs one summer, has to pay for those who didn’t.

Valuing responsibility is not privilege.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.