The student debt crisis: a burden on America’s future

Mykah Koke-Filimaua, Columnist

The student debt crisis has reached a tipping point in America, with more than 44 million borrowers carrying a total of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As a journalist, I believe that this crisis is a significant burden on America’s future and requires immediate attention from policymakers and the public alike. 

According to the Institute for College Access and Success (2020), the average student loan debt for 2019 graduates was $28,950. This is a significant amount, especially for graduates who enter low-paying jobs or have trouble finding employment due to a lack of job opportunities in their field.

Furthermore, this debt is disproportionately borne by students from low-income families who struggle to pay for their education without taking on loans. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found in 2019 that many student loan borrowers face challenges in repayment, including confusion about repayment options and difficulty accessing loan forgiveness programs. This results in high levels of delinquency and default, which can have long-lasting negative impacts on credit scores and financial stability. 

The lack of support for borrowers perpetuates the student debt crisis and makes it harder for graduates to achieve financial security and reach their full potential. 

To address this crisis, policymakers need to take concrete steps to provide relief for borrowers. One solution is to expand loan forgiveness programs, particularly for graduates who work in public service low-paying fields. Another is to cap interest rates on student loans to prevent borrowers from accumulating excessive debt. Additionally, greater support for low-income students is needed to ensure that they have access to higher education without taking on unsustainable levels of debt. 

It’s essential to address the student debt crisis as it not only affects individual borrowers, but also has broader economic consequences. The federal Reserve Bank of New York noted in 2021 that the high levels of student loan debt can limit young adults’ ability to buy homes, start families and invest in their future. Addressing this crisis will help create a more financially stable and prosperous society for all. 

The student debt crisis is a significant burden on America’s future. Policymakers must take action to provide relief for borrowers and support for low-income students to address this crisis. The time to act is now, and we must work together to create a brighter future for generations to come.