The article called “Debate on student loan debt doesn’t go far enough” was written by the founder of the website www.ForgiveStudentLoanDebt.com, Robert Applebaum, and published on www.thehill.com. The author reflects on the validity of the cost of education in the United Stated in the light of The Student Loan Forgiveness Act passed in 2012. Applebaum views adoption of the act as a recognition of the overpricing of education, which means that a degree is by no means worth to pay such large sums of money for – for a few different reasons.
First of all, education is supposed to be a right, not a luxury available only to those who can afford to pay for it. Applebaum assumes that in the United States, education is treated as a product that brings profits only to a purchaser, rather than public interest that is to benefit the society as a whole. Americans are taught that obtaining a degree is an essential prerequisite for getting somewhere in life, but no one is told that actually only a selected few are able to cover the full cost without many consequences for their financial status. In that sense, education is more like a privilege – in a way that it might actually be available to everyone, but only a group of people can make it work for them.
In addition, the author states that tuition rates are grossly inflated in the sense of their correspondence to the expected salaries upon entering the market after graduation. One might find it reasonable to invest in a higher education if there is a guarantee that it will pay off in the future with the opportunity to get a job with a good salary. Granted, since colleges and universities tend to increase costs year after year, students have to borrow more and more, which seems acceptable if the qualifications gained today are worth more than those gained decades ago. Except they are not: Applebaum notes that present-day degrees are worth even less than those before due to the high tuition prices combined with the current state of the job market. That state is defined by the decline in the wages of the middle class over the past decade – which is bad news for those who hope to cover expenses relatively soon after starting to work.
Moreover, even if legitimacy of having proper education is not to be discussed, the country is still left with millions of students who have no other choice than to keep running into debts solely to receive a degree. Applebaum is worried that this tendency might lead to the working class being priced out of public life. Society has never been in a position where a way to function was to be found without those who buy cars, purchase property, set up businesses and invest in the future. It can become reality if people graduate from colleges and universities with debts to pay for a lifetime.
The article is concluded with a somber forecast from the author: he predicts America is on its way to become an oligarchy if this situation is failed to be addressed. Applebaum is certain that the horrifying figure of $ 1 trillion in student loan debt is only a landmark that signifies how urgently the conversation has to be brought up for discussion. Education should be everyone’s opportunity to get access to knowledge with the consequent opportunity to make a living – not an experience that leaves one barely getting by.
Applebaum, Robert. “Debate on student loan debt doesn’t go far enough”. The Hill, 2012, Web.