Biden’s student loan relief too small to counter decline in higher ed

Adrienne Lawrence
Liberal Opinion

Adrienne Lawrence

Legal commentator
Archive |

President Biden’s plan to wipe out up to $20,000 in student loans does not go far enough if you were to ask Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Sen. Warren has called for erasing up to $50,000, and Sen. Sanders would like to cancel “all student debt in all of America.” Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence argues the student loan forgiveness program will not counter the steep decline in higher education enrollment:

As outrage pours in over President Biden’s paltry student loan forgiveness plan, too many Americans are missing the fact that the pursuit of education is declining in our county. The byproduct of an undereducated society will be disastrous for us in the coming years.

The right needs to stop pushing this anti-education agenda, and everyone needs to step up to make higher education accessible to all. As it concerns higher education, college attendance rates are dropping. More than one million fewer students are enrolled in college now than before the global pandemic began, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

This isn’t just attendance at so-called four-year institutions, mind you. Rather, community college enrollment is down by 13 percent. It’s also not simply a pandemic-related decline. The numbers started to fall in the fall of 2021, when undergraduate schools saw some 500,000 fewer students enroll. Graduate program enrollment, too, slid by nearly 11,000 shortly before the pandemic.

People are not seeking as much higher education as they once did. This is extraordinarily harmful to our society. Not only will we likely start to see a decline in innovation and contributions to mankind, but we’ll also see harm to our economic growth. The fewer educated people in the United States, the worse off we are in terms of our economy. Fewer educated people translates to fewer professionals with the skills, credentials, and degrees necessary to serve our communities. How will we effectively heal our fellow Americans with a shortage of doctors? How will we discover new medicines, treatments, technology with fewer scientists, and so on? Also, fewer educated people translates to fewer professionals earning higher wages. That means less money earned and thus less spent to bolster our economy. The economic ripple effects of lower college enrollment are real.

As outrage pours in over President Biden’s paltry student loan forgiveness plan, too many Americans are missing the fact that the pursuit of education is declining in our country. The byproduct of an un- and undereducated society will be disastrous for us in the coming years. The right needs to stop pushing this anti-education agenda, and everyone needs to step up to make higher education accessible to all. As it concerns higher education, college attendance rates are dropping. More than one million fewer students are enrolled in college now than before the global pandemic began, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. This isn’t just attendance at so-called four-year institutions, mind you. Rather, community college enrollment is down by 13 percent. It’s also not simply a pandemic-related decline. The numbers started to fall in the fall of 2021, when undergraduate schools saw some five-hundred thousand fewer students enroll. Graduate program enrollment too slid by nearly eleven thousand shortly before the pandemic. People are not seeking as much higher education as they once did. This is extraordinarily harmful to our society. Not only will we likely start to see a decline in innovation and contributions to mankind, but we’ll also see harm to our economic growth. The fewer educated people in the United States, the worse off we are in terms of our economy. Fewer educated people translates to fewer professionals with the skills, credentials, and degrees necessary to serve our communities. How will we effectively heal our fellow Americans with a shortage of doctors? How will we discover new medicines, treatments, technology with fewer scientists? And so on… Also, fewer educated people translates to fewer professionals earning higher wages. That means less money earned and thus less spent to bolster our economy. The economic ripple effects of lower college enrollment are real. Not to mention that it’s nearly unprecedent… Per the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, we’re coming off the largest two-year decline in higher-education enrollment in fifty years. There already was a skills gap before the pandemic, and now it will be exacerbated by the continued decline in attendance. This is a problem that we all must work together to fix. Yet so many members of the right continue to attack higher education, negatively referring to the educates as “elites.” In his new book, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, calls higher education a “scam” as he encourages young Americans not to pursue a college degree. All the while, his fellow conservatives are busy attacking educators at the grade school level and passing laws that restrict what can be taught. The message is to restrict knowledge, rather than seek to expand it. The right isn’t alone in contributing to the decline in higher education. Both the right and the left are aparty to keeping college inaccessible. Many complained about President Biden forgiving a mere ten to twenty thousand dollars of student loans for borrowers making less than one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. That forgiveness is a drop in the bucket for many borrowers. Ninety percent of those who qualify earn less than seventy-five thousand a year. College is far too costly. Between 1980 and 2020, for instance, the average cost of getting an undergraduate degree increased by one hundred and sixty nine percent, according to a recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Yet wages aren’t keeping up with inflation and costs, making the pursuit of higher learning entirely impossible. If we as a nation—right, left and everything in between—do not come together now to encourage education and to make it accessible for all, our future as a people will be bleak, if that.


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!