Is student loan debt unfair?

Education is an investment. In a single lifetime it creates more pay for an individual, more productivity in society and a better chance for innovation when new ideas are infused into the conversation. Students learn when and why to question the status quo of their forefathers and generations meld together to create a common culture in society. So why do we feel entitled to profit off our students through loans, before they even get a chance to get their feet wet, and why are many of our parents and professors still working toward paying off their own student debt?

In nations, such as Germany, an emphasis has been placed on education. Not only do these countries believe that one is entitled to a free, or almost free, education, but their citizens also live to reap the benefits provided to their society as a whole. In fact, according to Norway expends 9.0% of its GDP on education and according to Norway has been rated as the “most prosperous” country since 2009. Their economy has the number one ranking on the site, with the U.S. ranked 24th and their GDP per capita is higher than the U.S., $65,639 versus $49,965.

Many talk of a new bubble as education costs continue to rise even as the prospect of jobs after college continue to be a problem for graduates. There are even for-profit colleges that exploit the fears of those who didn’t have the opportunity to immediately attend a state college after high school so that they’ll pay thousands and thousands extra using student loans and sometimes they won’t even receive legitimate degrees for their efforts.

Occupy Wall Street came up with a concept that both sides of the aisle seem to agree is a reasonable way to deal with the overwhelming social issue of student debt that lingers over our heads. Their idea, the “Rolling Jubilee” is a project that uses donations to buy distressed debts, including student loans, which cost approximately $500 for $14,000 of debt that would otherwise be sent to collection agencies. Instead of collecting on this debt they merely absolve it, sending a letter to the random debtors that pardons them from their debt.

It’s a shame that the only way we can all agree to deal with the problem is by finding a loophole and exploiting the system to help relieve some of the most vulnerable populations of debt that was supposed to help better their lives and never lived up to their expectations.

If we used taxes the way they were meant to be used, distributing funds to institutions that benefit the greater society as a whole, then many of the social issues that we complain about every day, as we wonder why others resort to desperate measures to survive, would fade and become much less of a societal issue over time.