Student debt relief pros and cons

Patrick Calabria wrote elaborately about how student debt is something to be forgiven [“Misconceptions about student debt,” Opinion, Sept. 6]. His woe-is-me tale of unfortunate choices and consequences was far too sympathetic to the debtors.

Many on Long Island have a friend, relative or neighbor whose child chose to go to a big out-of-state university such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, etc. For many, these choices were made because the students wanted a big-school atmosphere, Greek life, and a football stadium that holds perhaps 100,000 fans on any given fall Saturday.

They made that choice over the options that included the State University of New York system, community college, the City University of New York system, or local universities that welcome commuter students.

Any subject that was studied in the Midwest was available here in the New York area as well. While I respect the decisions made, I just don’t want to pay for them through debt relief designed to forgive that decision.

 — Doug Heimowitz, Jericho


Seriously, comparing student debt forgiveness to Paycheck Protection Program loans [“Mixed feedback on debt relief,” Letters, Aug. 30]? Government shutdowns forced businesses to close. PPP loans went to paying employee salaries to avoid filing for unemployment, and to ensure that the business would still be there when the pandemic was over. And the PPP loans were intended from the get-go to be forgiven.

How is this remotely comparable to student loans voluntarily incurred and expected to be repaid?

 — Barry C. Levittan, Oceanside


The forgiveness of student loans does not seem fair to all those who have been responsible and paid off or have paid most of their loans. My first feeling is that half of the loan should be forgiven, and the rate of interest should be dropped so the students feel they are getting near the end.

Dismissing the whole loan doesn’t provide them the responsibility of paying a debt. Everything in life has a price. They need to know about budgeting, as in a household. And they need to know that all of us cannot take on the burden of their loans. Give them a break, somehow, but let them continue to act as adults and pay back what was borrowed, like us, as we did.

It took 30 years to pay off a mortgage — through hard times when one person in the house was not working, but we did it. No one said, “I’ll pay it for you.” It helped us grow into responsible, mature adults. Too many young people feel entitled. Hopefully, that will change when they enter the workforce.

— Camille Morselli, Islip Terrace


President Joe Biden has received a fair amount of criticism about student debt relief from both sides of the aisle. It’s an across-the-board cut in a loan that, for many, does not eliminate the cloud of debt hanging over the former student.

A deeper look should have considered whether the original principal of the loan was satisfied. If yes, let’s set standards for examining the balance of interest to determine whether the loan was predatory with exorbitant interest rates, forcing the student to pay more ever-growing interest, known as negative amortization, on principal long paid off.

At this point, financial institutions should be held accountable for their usurious practices and discharge these loans instead of passing the debt on to the taxpayers. Unfortunately, with the influence of the financial world, this is unlikely to happen.

 — James P. Kelly, Huntington

The writer is an adjunct professor of political science at St. Joseph’s University, Patchogue.


My family and I paid for my own higher education, such as it was, but I support President Joe Biden’s limited debt cancellation. Unlike so many others, I understand that life isn’t fair and some policies are appropriate.

There are many inequities in our country. Our tax system is clearly skewed, unfairly so, to benefit wealthy individuals. It seems every week some developer is seeking a tax break that the rest of us pay for. We are the only developed country that doesn’t have universal health care. We pay billions of dollars in aid to countries that have much cheaper higher education.

Something is unfair about all this. Let’s give our own students a break.

 — Robert W. Mays, Freeport

In 1975, a Harvard education cost about $10,000 a year. It’s now nearly $80,000. Unless you’re a practicing physician, this is hard to pay off quickly.

Unless you live close enough to a state school and live at home, it’s difficult to work your way through school.

A popular argument against student loan forgiveness is: “I had to pay mine, why should I pay yours?” This is selfish.

Many children, shackled with massive student loans, are living in their parents’ home longer because they can’t afford their own.

A great society progresses and adapts to make life better for future generations.

— Robert Broder, Stony Brook

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2022-09-12 07:03:30

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