Letter to the editor: There are alternatives to simply forgiving student debt

Many of us recently received our letter on the student debt crisis from Senator Bernie Sanders.

I find many politicians to be half right on the issue of student debt. Many on the left think student debt should be forgiven, as the high payments are crushing many people’s futures. Many conservatives point out that forgiving student debt shifts the financial burden to those who didn’t borrow the money, including people who didn’t go to college. As is typical in politics today, what is missing is the middle ground that recognizes the legitimate concerns expressed by both sides.

The biggest problem with student debt is interest rates. Many student loan programs are administered by predatory lenders who charge credit card rates after the first late payment. Reforming student loan programs to charge little or no interest would be a logical compromise and a big step in the right direction.

Expanding post-graduation opportunities for debt reduction or elimination in return for working in under-served regions and with under-served populations is an additional win-win reform opportunity.

None of these ideas are new, but our students need action as they weigh their educational choices. They deserve a clear and stable set of policies to work with as they plan the education and training they need to successfully enter the workforce.

Clark Hinsdale

North Ferrisburgh

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