My freshman salary as a lawyer under the Honors Program of the United States Department of Justice was approximately $ 7,696. In short, my total education debt was only slightly higher than my freshman salary as a civil servant.
I don’t recall any particular burden in repaying that debt for a life-changing study at two “brand name” universities.
During my later years in the advisory committee of my counselor, I also remember this debate about the then higher student debt. But a second look revealed that the higher student debt of that later era was matched by the freshman salaries of aspiring attorneys of the era. And the salaries of aspiring lawyers in private practice are now significantly higher than the salaries of public service officials.
George F. Will misrepresented the facts about our proposal to cancel up to $ 50,000 in student debt.
Mr. Will may be surprised to learn that student loan debt isn’t just a problem for college graduates: About 40 percent of those with student loan debt don’t have a college degree. Borrowers who have not completed their studies have a much harder time paying off their debt – they are three times likely to default. Our proposal would cancel 90 percent of debts for those with some college but no degree, 87 percent of debts for those with college degrees, and 72 percent for those with bachelor’s degrees.
This is also a matter of racial equality: Students of color also take on much more student loans than white students, in higher amounts, and after graduation, they often earn less than white graduates. A study Brandeis University found that after 20 years of student loan payments, the average black borrower had $ 18,500 in debt; the median white borrower had $ 1,000. For those black students who went to college in 2003 to 2004, almost half of the borrowers defaulted on their loans within 12 years. Forgiveness of student debt would greatly advance racial justice by immediately increasing Black and Latino wealth and by helping disproportionately many students of color.
If the memory is good, the columnist was sad that someone had the guts to criticize Republican tax cuts for corporations and the mega-wealthy because, well, that’s exactly how the cookie crumbles. But God forbid Democrats want to help the nearly 43 million Americans who are drowning in an ever-expanding ocean of student loans.
Charles E. Schumer Washington
The writer, a Democrat from
New York, is majority leader
Elizabeth Warren Washington
The writer, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the United States Senate.
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