Student Debt: An Unbearable Burden

Despite all of President Biden’s false promises, the student loan debt crisis continues. On the campaign trail, Biden said that he would cancel up to a paltry $10,000 in student loan debt per person; yet although he’s been in office for over a year he hasn’t done even that. And what would $10,000 loan forgiveness mean? Sixty-four percent of borrowers owe more than $10,000 of debt – many of them much more. This measly $10,000 that Biden is supposedly considering cancelling would be a drop in the bucket.

We should not be surprised that he hasn’t made good on this promise. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any interest in cancelling student debt. In the U.S., the population owes over $1.7 trillion in student debt collectively – twice as much as we owe in credit card debt. Student debt collection agencies are able to earn millions of dollars every year harassing borrowers to pay back their money. Meanwhile, the U.S. government and some private banks that own this debt are able to earn billions of dollars from the interest paid on these loans.

And this debt is a fantastic tool of control for the rich, too. Borrowers are under constant pressure to work long hours and accept the terms offered by their employers. The debt we owe acts as a tether, chaining us to our jobs.

This debt itself is a symptom of a profit-motivated educational system that is getting worse and worse. College tuitions have skyrocketed in the past decades, forcing more and more students to take out loans. At the same time, universities are cutting back funding for vital student services. Instead of spending on more full-time faculty, universities have been hiring temporary lecturers at poverty wages to teach classes. Rather than lowering tuition costs, universities have been hiring more and more bureaucrats and administrative staff. At the University of California system, for example, there are today as many administrative staff as there are tenure and tenure-track faculty.

As long as we live under capitalism, our whole education system will be structured around the need to make profit, rather than allowing us to learn and be curious about the world. Abolishing student debt is just the tip of the iceberg: we need free education for all, and to abolish capitalism!