Stop Complaining About Debt If You Spent Four Years At College Instead Of Three

Stop Complaining About Debt If You Spent Four Years At College Instead Of Three By  for The Federalist

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic presidential candidate and senator from Massachusetts, wants to cancel everyone’s student loan debt and make college free, she announced earlier this week.

Although she isn’t billing it as such, Warren’s plan will give handouts mostly to those who are wealthy already, or at least are on their way to upward mobility. Those people should not be priority candidates for government assistance. Inez Feltscher Stepman writes at The Federalist, “College debt is—paradoxically though it may seem—largely a problem of the upper classes, with the top income quarter of households holding close to half the debt, and the bottom quarter just 10 percent.”

Over at Reason, Peter Suderman identifiesthis same problem, saying, “the nature of college attendance and student loans means that Warren’s loan forgiveness plan is a massive giveaway to relatively well-off people.” He continues, “In the U.S., only about a third of people over 25 have a college degree, making them a comparatively elite group whose elite status is reinforced by, among other things, the connections they make while at college.”

I went to a decently fancy school, the College of William and Mary, and know many people struggling with the tab they had accrued upon graduating. For people from poorer families, who got no help from parents, I feel plenty of sympathy. For people from wealthier families, who got some amount of help from their parents yet are still stuck with a hefty chunk of student loan debt, I feel less sympathy. The hard truth is that if people were more strategic about reducing their debt burden, they could have graduated in three years instead of four.

I graduated in two and a half years while working 20-25 hours per week. I received a good bit of financial help from my parents, but it was not at all enough to cover four years of in-state tuition and living expenses. My plan from the start was to graduate in three years. After my first year, I realized I was going to run out of money before three years were over, so I sped it up. I entered school with roughly 40 credits through a combination of community college classes, Advanced Placement credits, and my high school’s dual enrollment program, where students could take classes at Virginia Commonwealth University, which counted toward most state school degrees.

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