Read what people are saying about the nationwide student loan debt crisis

Student loan debt is a hot-button issue. Student loans comprise the second-highest consumer debt category behind mortgage debt. In addition, $1.7 trillion is the total nationwide student loan debt and the burden is hardest on women (who have 58% of the nation’s debt) and minorities.

The Biden Administration has been pressured by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, as well as Representative Ayanna Pressley, Mondaire Jones and Ilhan Omar to cancel up to $50,000 of federal student debt.

As the debate continues, the Defender turned to social media to ask if complete federal loan cancelation is a good idea.

Shevann S.

“A child is left behind when they enter the education system and continue to get left behind when they enter the student debt cycle. Cancelation is not a Band-aid. We are told so many times that education is the gateway to success but if I can’t afford it and I am buried in debt it’s not success. One thing not stressed enough is that schools need to do better about how to navigate the college finance process and teach students the pathways to college or even alternative career plans.

“If we cancel all debt, what will be done to ensure future children don’t go out getting more loans afterward? We have to make sure there is funding at school. Academic success can’t be the only criteria for scholarships. As for the Department of Education, why do you expect graduates to pay their loans back after a six-month grace period? Does that sound logical?”

Omama M.

“People shouldn’t have loans to get an education to get a job to pay back for the education. However, this is America and everything costs money. I think intuitions should work with their students on affordable solutions to be able to pay off their student loans. Students and parents should [meet] with a financial advisor before taking out the loans to seek out alternatives. Too often loans are being taken out without the fine print being read. And colleges and universities aren’t going in-depth about the guidelines regarding the loan. I think if students aren’t making a certain income, their loan should be on pause.”

Luis T.

“Should they cancel student loan debt? Maybe. What are the repercussions if they do? Need to weigh pros/cons. Would the student debt problem solve the exponential increase in a college education? Probably not. I think the debt is a symptom of a bigger disease. It’s still the government so you never know, but I’ve learned about over-relying on politicians’ promises. Alternatives [include] limiting interest rates and predatory lending practices [affecting] youth. When you are 18, you may be an adult but still vulnerable to make stupid financial decisions.”

Eunice C.

“I think the government should significantly lower the debt for students. Stafford loans with high fixed rates almost ruined my credit, so I think the rates should be reasonable depending on each person’s FAFSA. Of course, this is one viewpoint — I have several regarding what I think we are owed, but self-sufficiency is important, so paying off all student’s debt doesn’t help when it comes to learning independence. That’s my two cents.”

Jason H.

“My honest opinion and the keyword is opinion [is] nothing is ever free or canceled. Just like economic stimulus checks or whatever. If someone goes to college without a scholarship or financial aid, they will have debt. That’s the price of an education.

“If the government took billions or trillions to pay off everyone’s debt now, that means the kids in school now will refuse to ever pay and expect a hand-out as well. More U.S. debt means we all as taxpayers have to pay for it in higher taxes, higher gas prices, higher rates, etc. Nothing is a wash. Always a catch. It’s better to get with them to figure out a payment plan to get on track. Otherwise, it impacts getting things like a home, car, etc.”

Austin P.

“No, debt cancellation was only a good idea in a world where Democrats didn’t win the Senate seats and couldn’t deliver more stimulus. Since that’s not the case, the economy doesn’t need more stimulus currently. Not to mention, the median beneficiary of this policy are those on the wealthier side of the income distribution, so it’s a regressive policy. Plus, student debt cancellation by itself is not solving the underlying issues with that debt accumulation and the spiraling cost of college. I’d be in favor of targeted cancellations if paired with a massive overhaul of how we fund college.”

Carrington G.

“I don’t think we will ever have complete student loan cancellation. I’d be happy if they just discontinued the interest or lowered it. I’ve paid my original loan amount off and still owe the exact same amount due to interest.”

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...