On February 26th, I received the following message about student debt cancellation from someone who found this site. It is a powerful message, and I agree with it completely. Student debt cancellation is not enough, we need to do more to end the cruel systems that keep us poor, struggling, and in debt. With her permission, I am sharing it here.
Re: Student Debt Cancellation
“If you cancel student loan debt, then you have to cancel credit card debt & medical debt. There is no other moral option. You cannot select who gets relief when there are so many people financially suffering from this same problem and expect to leave them behind. The exclusion I am seeing for the sake of just benefiting people who currently owe money literally makes me sick to my stomach and makes me scared for what the future may hold for people in my position.
I am a woman. I am a POC. I am a millennial. I grew up with the fear of my family losing our house and any security we had at the drop of a hat because finances were never stable. I was told you had to go to college to have a future. I had student loans. I didn’t pursue the career options others did because I couldn’t take on debt I felt I would be paying off my whole life. All these arguments and stats talking about the groups of people suffering the most include me – I fall into all those categories. And yet the current plan for relief excludes me, even though I fit into every described category as the people hit most by student loan debt.
The way in which people pushing the path for $10,000, $50,000 or all debts to be wiped away for ONLY SOME PEOPLE makes me feel like who cares about me and my life. Who cares about others like me? People who didn’t even go to college because they couldn’t take on ANY student loans. But who cares about them because all that matters are people who currently owe money, right?
Well I was lied to too and suckered into making choices that made my life harder because of student loans. But I am expected to just say, oh well, that money is gone, those years of my life are gone, those opportunities are gone, those chances at an education and a career are now in the past – but at least I paid off my loans, right? Good for me! Be happy for others! You are selfish and just want others to hurt because you got screwed!
Let me tell you, that is bullshit and I’m tired of hearing people use that as an excuse to leave SO MANY PEOPLE financially in the hole JUST because they don’t have current student loans they owe. You don’t think the damage has been done by having to pay back those loans or making the choice not to have 100,000k in loans or the people who did without an education to have none at all? Trust me, it’s there. But it’s “in the past” so, just whatever? Too bad. Tough luck. Life isn’t fair.
Seriously? No financial aid for me? I paid off my loans at the end of 2018 btw so this ain’t old news to me. I didn’t pay them off 50 years ago when it cost a dime to get a degree.
So let me get this straight btw. Even though people have credit cards to LIVE for ya know rent, groceries, bills, clothing – that debt is not worthy of cancellation too? Credit cards aren’t predatory? They don’t send you handfuls of offers every week in the mail with a credit card ready with your name printed on it? With rewards and incentives for joining? Really, not predatory at all? And then the interest/APR and penalty fees for late payments – those aren’t super high amounts that add up every month to your total debt, right ? On the LOW end, ONE of my credit cards has an interest of $60 A MONTH. Do the math over the course of 10 years. I have a handful of credit cards I’ve had to use to just make it in this world. To dump hundreds into car repairs so I can drive to work and keep my job – repairs that I literally couldn’t afford to do without credit cards. There have been times of unemployment where paying rent and bills were made only possible through credit cards. But who is going to relieve that debt? Why should it not be relieved?? Why are only current borrowers for student loan debt being talked about?
This is insane to me and a great way to make sure people like me never will be able to afford to live life. To have a family. To have a working car. To have a house. But good luck to everyone who won’t have to pay that $10k, $50k, $100k+ back if some crazy bill like this is passed. Enjoy being able to purchase affordable houses, and have babies you can afford and to start your careers in your 20’s because now you are debt free and don’t think about dying all the time because life is so helpless being poor and struggling all the time. I am genuinely happy for you even though you may not believe it. But are you thinking about me and others excluded from the help you will receive? How am I to have these things without the same financial relief you will be receiving? You seem to deserve it more than anyone else does according to some politicians and so many other people with power to push relief bills at the president.
I hope MAYBE those politicians will consider the lives of so many others than just current borrowers. They just aren’t even thinking about all the people affected by this. It is not as simple as they make it out to be. They talk about how this will change the lives of millions of Americans but they completely leave out those they are blatantly excluding and ignoring our voices, stories of hardship and experiences. They HAVE to be inclusive in their relief plan or else they will be screwing over a lot of people for the sake of relieving others. That is not right and no one and nothing will make that discrepancy in representation not valid in my mind and heart. I will never expect or ask someone to go without so I can benefit and it disturbs me this is the mentality so many take on this subject. If others have been affected by something and there is relief for that thing, then you can not argue to me that everyone involved doesn’t need equal help. I will never side with you on leaving people behind when they are drowning too.
I’m not looking for a fight believe it or not. I’m not looking you try to convince me to accept just how this is and just be happy for others. This is not about that. You can say I’m narrow minded, jealous, stubborn…no. What I am is desperate. To have a life just like these people who are in debt they can’t pay off. I’m in debt I can’t pay off even though I’ve already paid my debt. I don’t know if I’ll ever be out of debt again. But where are the champions for my financial relief? Where is consideration for my situation? And don’t think I haven’t worked hard. I studied diligently in high school & in college, all while working full time jobs and living away from home, worked three unpaid internships at once, paid my dues, tried to work my way up the corporate ladder, tried to make a career I didn’t hate and just get paid a livable wage.
And when I was finally & briefly making enough money not to be in the dregs, I was an idiot who poured $$$$ into paying off my student loans instead of ya know getting anything else I needed in life or paying off my other debts because no financial relief for my student loan debt was in sight and everything pushes for you to pay off your loans so I focused my finances on that. And not because I had the desposable income to have the “luxury” of paying off my loans – it came at great costs and lots of struggle and financial strict planning to have anything to even put towards paying off debt.
So don’t make judgements about preconceived notions of my privilege or my person. I am just DESPERATE for equal treatment and consideration and am fighting to have a voice for those who will be left out of this stupid one-sided idea that doesn’t take into account how to even make things better for future borrowers mind you. I see all this talk about debt cancellation and no mention of those the bill leaves behind and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what petition to sign or where to turn to have my voice heard and my plea to be included in financial relief for my student loans.
So I am making sending this message to just try to get the word out in whatever way I can that people are desperate for help and need to be included too. You have make equitable solutions to mass affecting problems like student loan debt. Forgiving student loans and doing nothing to help past borrowers who are now without that money they paid back, people who forgoed education because of student loans, and those looking to getting an education in the future, is not morally sound nor does it address so many of the key issues that allow student loan debt to exist in the first place. EVERYONE deserves to be considered and included in the student loan debt relief plan. Please include us in your plan.”