Most Americans Would Rather Feds Address College Costs Over Cancelling Debt

By Erika Hanson | 34 mins ago

college costs

For months on end, the Biden Administration has floated around the idea of canceling student loan debt in some form or another. What exactly that will look like seems to continuously change, but what hasn’t necessarily swayed, is the public opinion on the matter. Liberals tend to agree with canceling the foreboding debt, and conservatives think it is the wrong move. But in a growing notion, more Americans appear to wish that the government would focus more attention on addressing college costs, over canceling existing student loan debt.

This newfound information comes from a recent poll conducted by NPR and Ipsos. It was said to be nationally representative, consisting of 1,022 Americans, 400 of which were student loan borrowers. Asking respondents a variety of questions in regards to student loan debt in America, one question received an overwhelming abundance of support, and that dealt with the government stepping in to regulate college costs.

A tremendous 82% of those polled felt that the government’s main priority should be to make college costs more affordable for all Americans. Contrarily, only 16% felt that it was more important for the Feds to focus on student loan forgiveness. That’s not to say that student loan forgiveness is necessarily losing approval, but more so, it shows that the majority of the public feels that it is merely a quick-fix solution that won’t change long-term outcomes. 

In fact, the poll also questioned respondents about their stance on student loan cancellation as well as college costs. While mixed, the majority (55%) of the general public still favors the government forgiving up to $10,000 per student in federal student loan debt. However, as that dollar figure rises, the public loses support for this. Only 47% approved of the government canceling $50,000, and just 41% favored a complete cancellation of all student debt. 

While the public debates over the necessity to wipe out a portion of student loan debt currently owed, it does show the greater agreeance that the way in which higher education is structured, overall, needs a complete overhaul. Decades ago, college was fairly affordable, but the cost to attain that college degree perpetually increases, much higher than inflation. Last year, Fox reported that college costs have risen over five times the amount of inflation, making it nearly impossible to attend without taking out massive amounts of debt.

So how exactly could the Biden administration make permanent changes to the state of higher education and reduce college costs? There might be no clear answer, but some experts have a few starting suggestions. More and more people are calling on Biden to enact a sweeping law to make all community colleges free. Many states have already made this a reality, and offer programs that allow students to attend community college at no cost. Another suggestion being touted is for the feds to increase Pell grants awarded to low-income families, giving them a better chance to attain degrees. 

college costs

Despite clear public approval, Biden and his administration have made no clear notions that they will be looking to ease college costs in the near future. However, reports are suggesting that the president is close to announcing his executive order to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt, along with an extension on the federal student loan payment pause that is currently set to end on August 31st. With the expanding call from Americans demanding the government address the price to attain a college degree, hopefully, the Feds will soon bring attention to this growing concern.