Lots of people on this page have asked me to comment on the various proposals to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. Many it seems, suspect that I’ll be supportive of these efforts, since I’ve written at length about the outrageous rise of college tuition, and the scandalous ways in which hundreds of thousands of students have been conned into borrowing ridiculous sums of money to purchase degrees that never lead to an actual job. Well, for the record, I do not support student loan forgiveness.
My reasons for opposing student loan forgiveness are not a secret. I’ve written at length on this page about the fundamental unfairness of doing such a thing – especially to the millions of Americans who have paid their college debts, and sacrificed much to do so. I’ve also said that forgiving student debt would send a terrible message to the very same universities that already gouge their customers with sky-high tuition. Tuition will never come back to earth, if we bail out those who borrowed more than they could repay. Kevin Williamson, however, has summed it up better than I have. This paragraph in the attached article jumped out…
“The majority of student debt is held by relatively high-income people, poor people mostly are not college graduates, and those who attended college but did not graduate hold relatively little college-loan debt, etc. As the New York Times puts it, “Debt relief overall would disproportionately benefit middle- to upper-class college graduates.” Which ones? “Especially those who attended elite and expensive institutions, and people with lucrative professional credentials like law and medical degrees.”
I encourage you to read Kevin’s article. It’s short, but powerful. I also encourage you, if you’re so inclined, to make a modest donation to my foundation, which is currently raising money for our next round of work-ethic scholarships. mikeroweworks.org.
At mikeroweworks.org, we have no objection to a broad-based, liberal arts education. We simply object to the cost, and therefore focus our efforts on assisting students who wish to pursue a trade that doesn’t require a four-year degree. Like last year, I hope to award another million dollars in 2021 to qualified applicants looking to master a useful skill. Specifically, plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, welders, HVAC, mechanics, and so forth.
Finally, it should go without saying that I pity every young man and woman who is struggling today under the yoke of a crushing student loan. I sincerely do. You were quite possibly sold a bill of goods. You were very likely pressured by your friends, your parents, or your guidance counselor, to attend the “right” school. You were perhaps a victim of this persistent, pernicious, and preposterous push to peddle a four-year degree to every person with a pulse, and for that, you have my sympathy. But that’s not my fault. Nor is it the fault of the American people. The fault belongs to you, and so does the debt.
This is why I’ve spent the last twelve years discouraging people from slipping into hock at the outset of their careers. This is why I push back against the insane notion that a four-year degree is the best path for the most people. I don’t want to see more people borrow money they can’t afford to pay back. But nor do I wish to pay it back for you. I will however, encourage you to apply for a work-ethic scholarship, and wish you every success in the future.