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Dave & Dujanovic: Should Biden wipe out $50,000 in college loan debt?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has promised that, if elected President, she will forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt for every American with a household income of $250,000 or less. (Photo: Andrew Bossi via flickr)

SALT LAKE CITY — Is wiping out student loan debt the answer for college graduates struggling under the burden of money owed?

Dave Noriega said if you take out a loan, you need to pay it back. And repaying debt is a good lesson in life, he added.

With the rising cost of tuition and housing, Debbie Dujanovic said students deserve a break from a back-breaking financial burden. 

Background

About 45 million Americans together owe $1.7 trillion in student debt.

The average amount of student loan debt per borrower in 2020 was $37,584.

During the past 10 years, college costs have increased by more than 16%, student debt increased by 99% and today about 70% of college students take out loans to pay for their college education, according to CNBC Make It.

According to the White House, President Joe Biden is weighing whether to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt for every borrower.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Biden has asked Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to put together a memo outlining potential legal authorities that would allow him to enact broad student loan forgiveness of up to $50,000, according to Forbes.

Fairness or gift?

The two KSLNewsRadio hosts look at the student-loan forgiveness differently.

Dave asked why cancel the loan debt. What about future generations? How about those who have already paid off their student loan debt?

“Why this generation of students, that’s my question? Why does this select group get the write-off?” he asked.

“You sound jealous,” Debbie replied.

“Jealous? How about this, fairness?” he said. “I want to know why is it fair that this group gets singled out? What about past and future generations? What happens to my kids? I don’t have any kids in college right now. So, they just miss out?”

“If you earn a college degree in Utah, you’re going to carry about $16,000 in student loan debt out of college, which is a payment of about $250 a month, give or take,” Debbie said. ” . . . On average college graduates [in Utah] make around $36,000 a year. If you plan on renting a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, that’s $1,200 a month. So you have maybe leftover $700 to $800 of discretionary income to pay for food, car, gas, insurance and anything else that goes wrong in your life.

“So, quite frankly, a $250 gift, if you will, from the federal government to wipe out that debt goes a long way for our college grads; it takes the burden of debt, to some degree, off the table for them,” she answered.

Dave said having college graduates pay off the debts they incurred is a valuable life lesson for them.

“It’s not my fault that you know, kids are taking on debts and payments that they can’t afford,” he replied. “This is the valuable lesson they need to learn, and we need to be teaching it. And we’re obviously not because kids are taking on way too much debt. When they do graduate, they are burdened, and they’re underwater.”

Debbie said she saved $100 per month for 18 years to pay for her each child’s college tuition.

“No, I’m not jealous about the idea of other people getting their debt wiped out because I would not want other college grads to be saddled as I don’t want my kids saddled with massive amounts of debt when they graduate.”

“Well, it’s not about jealousy; it’s about fairness,” Dave said. “It’s about teaching our kids valuable lessons, which is if you borrow money, you got to pay it back.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.