Biden’s Student Loan Relief: It’s Simply Not Enough


One of the most exciting aspects of Joe Biden’s presidency has been the mass forgiveness of student loans. As millions of college students struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic, the Biden administration chose to extend vital financial support to university students and young workers throughout the country. This was a godsend to many, and assisted countless individuals in overcoming one of the most trying times in U.S. history. There was only one problem to this, however: The government couldn’t help everyone forever.

When pandemic aid programs started to expire, everyone couldn’t help but notice that while most of the country was able to start taking shaky steps back toward normalcy, there was one group that still suffered: those who were unable to pay back student loans due to the pandemic’s economic crash. The Biden administration, taking pity on the future of America’s workforce, devised a new strategy. Instead of hastily setting up even more relief programs, students would instead have the opportunity to apply for federal standard payment transition, effectively forgiving up to $20,000 of student loans per person. While many considered this a boon to the nation’s youth, this drastic course of action has caused enough of a stir to end up before the Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide the future of the Biden administration’s policy. The economic futures of millions of students currently hang on the decision of the nine most powerful judges in the United States.

At least, that’s the version of the story that most people know of. However, there’s one critical issue that many are unaware of. While loan forgiveness is certainly a positive move by the Biden administration, it fails to take into account long-term flaws in collegiate finances that will persist long after these events have come to pass.

Long-term flaws, you ask? Like what? Well, how about college tuition itself? No, that’s unfair; higher education will always have a price attached to it. More specifically, it’s the rise in college tuition that’s the problem. If a college education is essential to such a vast swath of the jobs in our economy, then of course people will vie for an opportunity to receive the best possible quality. As the price for such an education rises, though, it will simply become unfeasible for a majority of American youth to attend. The feeling of demand that college festers, however, makes many students turn to the only solution they can find: student loans. Since most students are unable to afford college upfront, students take out a loan with the (supposed) assurance that the job they can get with a college education will be able to pay it off. All colleges see of this, unfortunately, is that more students are able to pay for college, so the institution can (theoretically) raise tuition costs without repercussions. The unfortunate result of this line of reasoning is that higher tuition fees lead to more student loans, whose spending leads to higher tuition prices, etc. This vicious cycle of deficit spending has skyrocketed in recent years, with America’s student loan bubble growing from $500B in 2007 to $1.6T today.

This reveals a painful flaw in Biden’s loan relief: Even if the plan is successful, what will happen to the next generation of students with even higher debt and no federal aid to help them out?

There are only two solutions to this precarious situation. Either the massive debt bubble is slowly deflated over time, or it violently pops in the not-too-distant future. The latter scenario would be most unfortunate, as an immediate economic collapse in the educational sector would be in short order. Dozens of elite educational institutions would suddenly find themselves without enough of a student body to maintain themselves with, and community colleges would be inundated with students who could no longer afford school anywhere else. It doesn’t take a sociologist to see that an educational panic would quickly ensue.

If popping the bubble won’t work, then how about deflating it? It wouldn’t be exceptionally difficult for colleges to lower tuition steadily enough to avert a crisis and allow debt levels to return to normal. They might lose a buck or two in the short term, but isn’t it worth it if it means high-level colleges will be able to survive ten years down the road? As for those who want to appeal to the government for help, don’t you think the government has done enough already? Financial aid can only go so far, and while the government has done a highly effective job of alleviating the symptoms, it’s ultimately up to the colleges themselves to purge the disease of rising student loans from our economy before it’s too late. While a group of college students chanting about how tuition should be lower might simply seem like a bunch of unsatisfied ingrates, they’re actually pointing out the possibility of a volatile financial crisis that will inevitably happen if policies aren’t changed. The government has done all it can for college students; it’s now up to the colleges themselves to do what’s right and make sure that the future of America can survive.