Student Debt Cancellation

November 23, 2020


With Senator Chuck Schumer calling on President‐elect Joe Biden to enact massive federal student debt cancellation by executive fiat, perhaps we need another reminder why such a policy would be terrible.

As I am pressed for time with other projects, I’m going to make this short.

First a chart, from the Urban Institute, laying out who has most of the student debt (hint: not low‐income folks):


Student debt by income quartile

Next, a reminder from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce that the average person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make around $1 million more over their lifetime than someone with only a high school diploma. Oh, and a lot of debt is for graduate studies, like law and medical school, which lead to even bigger lifetime bucks:


Earnings by degree

Finally, here is a host of links to on‐campus pools and lazy rivers:

What’s the point of all this? Massive loan cancellation would primarily help well‐off people, and have taxpayers bear even more of the cost of “education” that for many students is also kind of “luxury cruising.” We would be socializing costs for huge private profit, which would not only be bad education policy, fostering even worse tuition inflation & empty credential demands, it would be patently unjust.




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