Gen Z wants student loan forgiveness without any accountability. It doesn’t work that way.

Gen Z wants student loan forgiveness without any accountability. It doesn’t work that way.


My generation has a political problem. We gravitate toward quick fixes for massive problems that plague our country. The generation raised on instant gratification, to little surprise, is looking for the same in politics and government.

On no other issue is this more apparent than the student loan crisis. Rather than targeting the root of the problem of federally subsidized student loans, President Joe Biden has instead pushed forward the Band-Aid fix of blanket student debt cancellation in order to score a cheap political win with America’s youth.

On the 2020 campaign trail, candidate Biden championed his plan to “immediately cancel a minimum of $10,000 of student debt per person.” That empty promise appears to have worked the first time around, as he captured 65% of the Gen Z vote, compared with Trump’s 31%.

So is it any surprise that Biden’s promise to eliminate student debt went on to be one of his administration’s major policy moves? That might be why 77% of voters ages 18-29 said student debt relief was a motivating factor for their turnout in the midterm elections.

News Gen Z’s support for Biden’s student debt plan is maddening

President Joe Biden prepares to deliver remarks Feb. 21, 2024, in Culver City, Calif., on canceling student debt.

On the issue of student loans, Gen Z broadly favors blanket debt cancellation similar to Biden’s proposed plan. Almost 60% of those born in 1997 or later support the plan that has since been struck down by the Supreme Court, compared with just 46% of all voters in swing states.

Maddeningly enough, that same Bloomberg News/Morning Consult survey reveals Gen Z is far less literate on the details of the plan than other generations, with 42% reporting they had heard “not much” or “not at all” of the plan, compared with just 30% of all other voters in swing states.

Why I’m not voting: I’m not voting for Trump or Biden. You want my vote? Choose better candidates.

I struggle to come up with a term to describe my generation on this issue besides “entitled.” Not only are we broadly in favor of other people paying off our debts, a majority of whom do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, we don’t even have the decency to be more aware of the issue than generations that are more likely to have already paid off their loans.

A sobering truth for young Americans needs to be heard. You do not have the right to demand other people pay off your poor financial decisions.

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court on Feb. 28, 2023, ahead of the oral arguments in cases that challenge President Joe Biden’s $400 billion student loan forgiveness plan. That June, a majority of justices ruled on ideological lines that the Biden administration overstepped its power.

News Gen Z should push Congress to find a long-term solution

Biden’s plan was not only unwise but also unconstitutional at its core, as highlighted by the Supreme Court when it struck down the plan last June. While I think this course of action is unwise and immoral, Gen Z has a better chance of accomplishing debt relief through Congress, which is responsible for the power of the purse.

Gen Z isn’t going away: Don’t believe the narrative that Gen Z will vote Biden. My generation is up for grabs.

Blanket cancellation does nothing to combat the problem of the student loan crisis. In fact, it would only serve as a further incentive for students to attend colleges they can’t afford, obtaining degrees that give them little chance of allowing them to pay off the debt they accrued in the process.

Congressional efforts are much better geared toward legislation curtailing the federal student lending programs that have gotten us into this mess in the first place.

News The problem is federal involvement in student loans

Our government’s involvement in the student debt crisis is clearly unacceptable. Federal lending programs now offer aid to the vast majority of students.

A 2017 study from the Federal Reserve indicates that for every dollar of federal student loans an institution receives, it’s able to raise the cost of attendance by 60 cents.

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In a time when 37% of graduates report being unable to afford their monthly loan repayment, a short-term fix like cancellation will do nothing to prevent future generations from suffering the same fate. Young voters should look to other methods to sway their vote for actual change on the issue, not false promises attempting to bribe them.

Gen Z should concentrate our efforts on voting for candidates who promise actual change on the issue, or better yet, take personal responsibility for financial decisions. Understanding your financial decision in attending college, rather than blaming politicians for not stealing other people’s money to pay your debt, is a much better use of your time and will lead to better results for your future.

Dace Potas is an Opinion fellow for USA TODAY. A graduate from DePaul University with a degree in political science, he’s also president of the Lone Conservative, the largest conservative student-run publication in the country.

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Gen Z wants to end student debt. You don’t get off that easy

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