The old adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” can pretty much sum up the student loan forgiveness plan made by the Biden administration. Some say it does too much while others say it’s not enough.
Everyone seems to be unhappy about it for now, which should signify that things need to be refined.
One thing is for sure, senior citizens will be helped the least and most negatively affected. Yes, even the seniors who are still paying off student loans.
Retirement-age seniors (62 and older) only account for 5% of the total borrowers (the lowest percentage) with student loan debt anyway. Furthermore, most of them have been paying down their student loan debt for years (see below).
However, someone much younger with a much higher income that has paid back little to nothing will get the most benefit. In what universe is that fair? Shouldn’t seniors that have faithfully made student loan payments for years take priority?
If you take a gander at the US Federal Dept of Education’s “Federal Student Loan Portfolio by Borrow Age” report (see image below), you’ll see that senior citizens account for the smallest dollar amount of outstanding student loan debt and the fewest borrowers.
Seniors Citizens Negatively Affected by Student Loan Forgiveness Plan
Next, we’ll cover the ways this plan will absolutely hurt senior citizens the most. Regardless of whether you have student loans or never went to college, seniors will suffer from this plan.
Here are a few key questions seniors should be asking their representatives:
- Why are we going to forgive student loans for the working class making six-figure incomes?
- Why are seniors still getting their Social Security checks garnished to pay off student loans?
- Why are fixed-income, retirement-age seniors expected to burden the debt responsibility of the working class?
Most seniors are on a fixed income and will be asked to pay for the student loan debts of the younger generation. Even seniors still paying for student loans will suffer from this unwanted side effect.
When you print $300 million out of thin air, you can expect the currency to devalue and prices to increase. Unfortunately, this will make everyone’s savings and income diminish in value.
Social Security and Pension Garnishment
The fact that the government can garnish seniors’ social security or pension to pay back student loans just seems criminal. Despite the need, Biden failed to address this in his plan.
Most seniors either paid off their student loans or never had them in the first place. Now we’re going to ask seniors on a fixed income to shoulder the burden of the debts of others (mostly younger generations).
Furthermore, this plan will only incentivize universities to increase costs even more guaranteeing a continuation of the student debt problem.
Fixing the Student Loan Debt Problem
Universities have increased costs to students exponentially ever since the federal student loan program was initiated. These same universities have endowments that exceed $691 billion (as of 2020). That’s more than the estimated net worth of the Roman Catholic Church.
Let that sink in for a minute.
As long as wealthy universities can continue to increase fees at the expense of the public, this will never be fixed. And don’t get me started with student loan lenders like Sallie Mae.
Here are the steps that will help to alleviate the student loan debt problem.
Limit the number of years someone with a low income and low net worth has to continue paying on student loans. The popular amount of time here seems to be 20 years.
If the loan can’t be paid back in full during that timeframe, then the university has to pay it back, not the taxpayer or borrower.
Limit the interest rates (2% sounds fair) lenders can charge on student loans. Some of the rates being charged on student loans are absolutely criminal.
The author had to pay over 8% interest on student loans.
Interest on student loans can only be charged for twenty years. Sallie Mae doesn’t need another all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii for its employees. They’re already making billions off the student loan debt burden.
Terminate the egregious act of garnishing social security from seniors to pay back student loan debt.
This should be self-explanatory, but universities and loan lenders should be absolutely disgusted with themselves over this.
About the Author
Senior advocate but not a senior citizen – yet. These thoughts on student loan forgiveness reflect the views of the author only and not SuddenlySenior as a whole.