Student Loans

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Programs Are Useless. A Juvie Teacher's Story Shows Why.

"We consistently allow the government to develop…programs like this that sound really great on paper but have no practical benefit," Keith Bradford says.



Whether or not federal student loan forgiveness programs are a good idea in theory, they're clearly failing to work as advertised in practice. Consider the experience of Keith Bradford, a teacher in Washington state's Yakima School District.

In 2001, Bradford graduated from Central Washington University with a master's degree in history. At the time, he owed about $22,000 in student loans, which he quickly began paying off. He's stayed on the same plan since, though he has "doubled" his monthly repayments over the years.

In 2009 he looked into the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, which allows teachers who've been at low-income schools for at least five years to have up to $17,500 of their student loan debts forgiven. More than 75 percent of the students in Yakima live in poverty, and Bradford has been teaching there for more than 13 years. He currently teaches social studies to incarcerated students at the juvenile detention center. He's precisely the sort of graduate the program is supposed to help. But he found he had started his education about a month too early to qualify.

This year Bradford applied for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which George W. Bush signed into law in 2007. Under that program, certain public servants—including teachers—who have made 120 qualifying payments on their loans can have their slates wiped clean. The program only counts payments after October 1, 2007, meaning no one was eligible to apply for loan forgiveness until late last year. Bradford waited a few months, then applied. He was denied on the grounds that he hadn't made enough qualifying payments.

How could that be? According to a letter Bradford received from FedLoan Servicing, a company that processes federal student loan repayments for the Department of Education, the only loan repayment plans that qualify are income-driven. Bradford's plan is graduated, meaning it goes up over time but does not change based on his earnings. So again, a program that theoretically exists to help people like him doesn't actually do them any good at all.

Maybe he's just unlucky? Nope. Through the end of June, more than 28,000 borrowers have applied for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program. Of them, precisely 96 borrowers have had their applications approved, according to a Federal Student Aid report from last month. As CNBC reported in May, the program has numerous technical requirements, and it's extraordinary difficult for borrowers to meet them all.

Borrowers whose PSLF applications were denied can apply for the Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. But that program has "limited funding," the Federal Student Aid website notes, and once the money is gone, the "opportunity will end."

Bradford received a letter informing him he's eligible to apply. But he's not sure if it's even worth trying. "I know I'm going to be rejected again," he says. Plus, Bradford only has about $5,000 left to repay. At this point, he and his wife might just pay it off and "be done with it."

Nothing wrong with that. It's good to pay off your debts, and the Bradford family doesn't seem to need the help. But it raises the question: Why exactly do such programs exist in the first place? If the people that they're supposedly there for don't qualify for them, how much good are they doing? Are they worth the cost of administering them in the first place?

"I feel like it is such a typical government misrepresentation of a program," Bradford says. "We consistently allow the government to develop…programs like this that sound really great on paper but have no practical benefit to anybody that could actually use it."

This post originally stated that Bradford graduated with about $17,000 in student loans. Bradford later clarified that the number was closer to $22,000. The post has been updated to reflect that change.

NEXT: Brett Kavanaugh's Emotions Don't Disqualify Him, but His Inflammatory and Evasive Strategy May Be Another Matter

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  1. This is another case of welfare for paper-pushers, nothing more… Plain and simple!

  2. But how else can I afford to get a Masters in Male Feminist Yoga Studies?

    1. Will you be teaching male feminist yoga studies at prison prep juvenile hall like this guy was?

  3. So subsidize tuition, which simply jacks up tuition rates and then “forgive” the student loan later (except for taxpayers who are never forgiven).

    Meanwhile, college campuses look like the Taj Majal and they have doubled the administrative positions and introduced lots of bullshit degrees and jobs (e.g. diversity coordinators, gender studies, ethnic studies).

    There is nothing progressive ideas can’t degrade. Or make less efficient/effective.

    1. Taj Mahal indeed. I went to school at UCSD, which at the time did have its share of impressive government-ish Brutalist architectural showcases. But when I was there the administrative offices and Fifth College were still using the old WWII era Camp Matthews quonset huts.

      So I never understood why academia needed such architectural showcases. Sure, you might want large lecture halls and special buildings for specialized engineering or medical school needs. But why the edifices? Yeah, I get it that Leland Stanford wanted to leave a legacy and shit like that. But if places like DeVry can produce educated engineers operating out of business park style buildings, we have proof that they are not needed.

      Let the private donors pay for the edifices if they want, but don’t let any tax dollars go towards funding or maintaining them. Government funded colleges and universities can make do with less impressive facilities.

      1. It’s for student recruitment. And it works exceptionally well. This is because most people (including parents) have no idea how to judge the quality of a college. They tend to heavily rely on superficial things like how impressive it looks.

        1. And how good its football team is.

          1. Is there legitimately any other way to judge a school? Which team are you a trainer for?

      2. Do not hire Devry graduates *shudder* . Technicians maybe, Engineers? LMFAO

  4. Well it certainly benefits the people administering the program, and isn’t that what really matters?

  5. The purpose of these programs is not to help the people they are intended to help. The purpose of these programs is to put a feather in a politician’s cap and provide employment for otherwise unemployable bureaucrats.


    1. ^ This, exactly.

      1. I second that. Politicians love to do wonderful things like building hiking paths with LWCF monies from offshore drilling in the arctic. It’s absurd!

  6. Federal student loan forgiveness doesn’t sound good on paper either.

    1. Yes, and I wonder how much of Bradford’s disgust — “We consistently allow the government to develop…programs like this that sound really great on paper but have no practical benefit to anybody that could actually use it.” — has to do with it not helping him.
      Who thinks a Master’s makes a juvie teacher more suited?

      1. Yes, probably better off taking classes in Tae Kwon Do for that gig. Kids don’t go to juvie for shoplifting.

    2. When government eschews the free market (via occupational licensure combined with federal loans) and jacks up tuition… And then expects people who choose to do public service to pay these inflated prices, they have to do something. The logical response would be to eliminate occupational licensure and federal student loans. That ALL BY ITSELF will fix the tuition crisis. But since that’s off the table, then providing relief in another way is necessary. They correctly observed that people were choosing NOT to do public service, because inflated tuition was making that an unrealistic option for so many people.

      It’s a classic case of government tweaking a market, noting that they’ve distorted the market in a way that has hurt outcomes, and then trying to “fix” it through subsidies.

    3. A libertarian magazine should take the libertarian position: separate school and state.

      Then none of these problems would exist: students would get a far better education at far lower prices because that’s what free markets deliver, there wouldn’t be such a need for student loans, there wouldn’t be a “need” to create a type of debt that makes you slave since it can’t be discharged in bankruptcy (which is a clause they had to put in for student loans, as there’s no guarantee a student will pass, or will have the ability to pay back such a loan), and taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook for anything, and people wouldn’t be paying taxes to support overpaid government school employees.

      “‘I feel like it is such a typical government misrepresentation of a program,’ Bradford says”

      Welcome to the real world Bradford. Is there a government program that isn’t misrepresented? Consider deceptive advertising laws, that don’t seem to apply to government, which is another argument for keeping government to a minimum.

  7. “In 2001, Bradford graduated from Central Washington University with a master’s degree in history. At the time, he owed about $17,000 in student loans, which he quickly began paying off.”

    How can you be “quickly” paying off a $17,000 loan for 17 years? paying less than $3.00 a day would cover it.

    1. No no, he “quickly began”. I could quickly begin a foot race, but I doubt I’d finish quickly.

    2. Making minimum payments. Seriously.

      1. Oh fuck! The taxpayers are rich … let them come up with another infinitesimal amount to pay for it. They don’t mind being slaves to good intentions, do they?

      2. This.

        He graduated with debt about equivalent to buying a new Honda Accord that year. And he’s still paying?

        Stupid government programs to solve problems cause by other stupid government programs are a problem, just not his guy’s problem.

      3. Yeah, that’s really all it is. Most of these payback periods last for 20 years or more now.

        I actually ran across an old statement from my undergrad loans that had a ten-year payoff period, but I only owed about $7500 at the start, and this was over 20 years ago. Paying off that and my grad school loans, totaling about $25K, took me ten years after I received my MA, but about 85% of that took place during the last 2 years of that period when I started doubling my minimum payments, then trebling and quadrupling them as I paid off other debt obligations. Really, it’s the only way to hammer that balance down quickly.

    3. I wish I had only 17,000 in student loans. Alas!

      1. 17,000 …. BUCS?

        We’ve only got one and are the richer for it.

      2. No shit.

        I had a $17,000 car loan around the same time. It took five years to pay off and, if I remember correctly, the payments were about $250. What the fuck has this guy been doing for 17 years?

        1. First he had to buy the BMW for him and the Mercedes for the significant other. They deserved it.

    4. And yet somehow still has $5,000 to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      I call bullshit.

    5. They’re talking about the fact that you have about 3 months to start payments.

  8. This is surprising.

    I thought Obama’s expansion of the forgiveness program was a huge giveaway to government unions. What’s so hard about getting on the income-based repayment plan for ten years and then walking away debt-free?

    1. Because if he got on an income-based repayment plan he’d have the debt paid off in about 2 years. $17k is not a huge amount of money, he’s been paying for 17 years and still owes $7k? Something doesn’t add up there.

      1. He might have a really low income.

        1. Or IQ given that he couldn’t figure out how to pay off the debt on his own like a big boy.

          1. I’d go with IQ since he is a public school teacher.

  9. Student loan forgiveness that the federal taxpayer is on the hook for.

  10. “So again, a program that theoretically exists to help people like him doesn’t actually do them any good at all.”

    Except that the program doesn’t exist to help people like Bradford. It exists to help people with income-driven repayment plans. I have no idea why the program was structured that way. Maybe the “point” was to create a program that could create good will for the politicians who backed it without costing a lot of money. Maybe there are good arguments for only helping people with income-driven repayment programs. A “reasonable” libertarian argument against any of these programs is that the federal government shouldn’t be engaged in what are, effectively, wealth distribution to largely middle-class students, not that they don’t redistribute enough wealth. So why not make that argument instead of complaining that Uncle Sam isn’t giving away enough of my goddamn hard-earned money to you kids!

    1. To my knowledge, there isn’t a requirement that the borrower is on income-driven plan. I’m 99% sure that the borrower in this story has this wrong.

      1. Here is the rule, from the FedLoan site:
        Payments you make under a 10-year Standard Repayment Plan or under any other Direct Loan Program repayment plan with payments that are at least equal to what you would have been required to pay under the 10-year Standard Repayment plan also count toward PSLF. However, you must switch to an Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan, such as PAYE, REPAYE, IBR, or ICR, to benefit from PSLF. Otherwise, you would have no remaining loan balance to be forgiven after making 120 payments.

        So they accept payments that are made under the standard plan. The reason they don’t accept payments from the Graduated plan is because you pay less at the beginning of the repayment period. So you would be paying below the amount necessary to qualify. Which makes perfect sense.

        1. General rule; more than two sets of initials indicates a program that needs to go away. This one snippet has 7.

      2. Also, why wouldn’t you be on the income-driven plan if you knew you were on the PSLF and weren’t going to end up paying interest? Sounds like the person profiled in this story fucked up in quite a few ways.

    2. You’re right. As the article states, Bradford didn’t meet the requirements. But Bradford is right that the government misrepresented what they were doing, but deceptive advertising laws don’t apply to government.

      Fom a libertarian perspective, government shouldn’t be involved in schooling or lending as neither have anything to do with protecting our lives, our liberty, or our pursuit of happiness because the free market can provide education and lending services (assuming of course that a borrower can show the ability to repay the loan). Besides schooling would be much less expensive with free markets rather than government controlled and subsidized education markets.

  11. Maybe he’s just unlucky? Nope. Through the end of June, more than 28,000 borrowers have applied for loan forgiveness under the PSLF program. Of them, precisely 96 borrowers have had their applications approved, according to a Federal Student Aid report from last month. As CNBC reported in May, the program has numerous technical requirements, and it’s extraordinary difficult for borrowers to meet them all.

    This appears to be an intellectually dishonest statement. 70% were denied because they did not meet the technical requirements. 28% were denied because the dipshits didn’t fill out the form correctly. This is the fault of the PSLF program?

    Yes, the program has technical requirements, but that’s BY DESIGN. It is designed to only include people engaged in public service (which is very clearly stated to include working for non-profits). This is naturally not going to include a whole lot of people. I’m really disappointed with the quality of this article. It paints a picture that just isn’t realistic.

    1. I you have a college degree and can’t correctly fill out a government form, what does that say?
      What does it say about the education you got?
      What does it say about the form design?
      What does it say about the government’s actual level of interest in helping you?

      1. I’m holding my breath. Are you going to tell me?

        1. The remainder of this proof is left as an exercise for the reader – – – – –

      2. Oh, the forms are idiotic and the criteria that use to disqualify them are even more idiotic. I’ll grant you that.

        One of the key parts of that form is that your employer, separately, files a form stating that you work for them 40 hrs/wk and that they prove they have tax exempt status. From what I hear, HR departments are pretty inconsistent with actually doing this correctly, and the borrower doesn’t get to see it first. So we can’t pin it all on the borrower.

  12. “”programs like this that sound really great on paper but have no practical benefit to anybody that could actually use it.”””

    It’s not done for people that can use it. It’s done so politicians can get votes.

    1. I was approved.

      1. In that case, you’re welcome. I hope you’re using my money well.

        1. He doesn’t get your money. The university who overcharged him because the government distorted the market got your money. The interest that the banks got for taking on a loan that is 99% guaranteed by the federal government also got some of your money.

          Follow the money, people.

  13. A single case proves the universal?

    Forget forgiveness. Bring back bankruptcy.

    Over the past few decades, bankruptcy has been continually expanded for business while at the same time constricted for individuals.

    Death or suicide is the only way out.

    1. It looks to me that it is only constricted for individuals where a government payment is involved . . . . .

  14. With a 7.8% rate, Student loans are designed to keep you in debt. Cant get a lower interest rate. Cant brankrupt them. Cant forgive them. Cant transfer them. The Army even reneged on paying them. They are a talisman around my neck.

    1. 7.8%? Lucky. Try 8.25 on $36K and never a job since graduation that has made more than $26K….

      1. Mine is 6%

      2. Sounds like you chose very poorly.

        1. You’re pretending that there’s a free market. The system, frankly, more closely resembled Mussolini’s fascism than anything the Austrian school ever put together.

          Bottom line: want to be eligible for PSLF? Then you are required, by law, to forego choice and accept whatever rate the federal government offers you.

      3. Clearly you did not major in math or business.
        (Or you really, really suck at job interviews)

    2. It is amusing to see how perspectives change. I graduated law school in 1988 and was pleased to have my $19k in student debt *only* carry interest at 10.8% (same as my FHA mortgage). Three to five years earlier (iirc), the FHA and VA home loans were at the low, low price of 17% (I remember the cost, but not exactly how many years earlier). My husband had an unguaranteed student loan at 25%. We would have adored having only 7.8% . . .

  15. It was established several years ago that colleges raised tuition and fees to collect virtually every cent of increases in federal student loan guarantees.

    Pretending to “forgive” the unconscionable increases to those who work for nonprofits is simply indefensible, just as the college tuition increases were.

    How about a different approach? Mortgage loan originators are now on the hook for some portion of the losses when the loans they write go sour. In a similar way, why not make colleges pay off some portion of the losses when students can’t repay the loans the schools obliged them to take?

    1. Re: How about a different approach? Mortgage loan originators are now on the hook for some portion of the losses when the loans they write go sour. In a similar way, why not make colleges pay off some portion of the losses when students can’t repay the loans the schools obliged them to take?

      Here is an interesting question:

      A “Degree” is supposed to be “an investment” that pays dividends in excess of cost.

      There is no form of “investment” that does not caveat it’s existence with a “past performance does not indicate future results” EXCEPT “education”. Any other entity that solt an “investment” without explicitly disclaiming that the “investment” might be worthless would get crushed by the SEC. But not Schools, who not only don’t disclaim, but actively suppress the true market value of their product.

      Another interesting issue is the way that Student Loans are the only financial instruments where the holders are not granted equal protection under the law in regards to discharge.

      You know something is screwey when it’s easier to deal with IRS debt or a Social Security Overpayment than a Student loan…

    2. Mortgage loan originators are now on the hook for some portion of the losses when the loans they write go sour.

      This. We’re forgetting that the student loan industry as absolutely huge, and that banks can make giant profits on loans that are guaranteed by the federal government. No risk, huge reward. All taxpayer funded.

      Either the huge reward needs to go away (limit interest by law) or banks need to start taking on some risk. Anyone framing this as a subsidy to people is really not seeing the forest through the trees. The money makers here are banks and universities. And secondarily, corporations who are able to offload training and screening costs to the federal government.

  16. Not true! Because of the PSLF program, I won’t have to pay back $60,000 of my federal school loans!

    1. Again, you’re welcome. No thanks necessary, as a professional without a degree myself.

    2. Go to hell. You owe that money. You should have to pay it off.

      1. Not having to pay back the money that taxpayers are on the hook for? How nice for you, Saliva.

      2. The government inflated the price of a product by distorting the market, handed profits over to banks on a taxpayer-funded platter, and used force as a method to suppress alternative. But HE’S the one who should have to pay it off?

        The best thing that could possibly happen would be for the student loan system to completely collapse. That’s the only way to fix it as long as the government refuses to adopt libertarian philosophies in education and business.

  17. Taking over 17 years to pay off $17000 of loan debt is fucking nonsensical.

    I paid off $50k in student loans in six years, but I worked two jobs, signed my ass over to Uncle Sam for a couple years, and didn’t have nice things. This guy is doing it wrong.

    Agree about the stupid loan forgiveness programs, though.

    1. “This guy is doing it wrong.”

      He teaches young, poor, incarcerated people. In an area generally lacking in economic opportunities.

      That bastard.

      1. $1000/year – $3/day – is avocado sandwich territory. As a 17 year employee with a Master’s of the Yakima School District, he should be making at LEAST $40,000 a year. 17 years should have gotten him several raises, too, to $50K or even $60K.

        I cannot see how someone with a starting salary of $40,000 cannot manage to save $3 per day to pay off his debt. Yakima, Washington is NOT a high-expense area to live in – 10% below national average.

        So, yeah. He’s doing something wrong.

        1. Public info shows that in the 2015/2016 year, Keith made $64.8k in salary, $6.9k in bonuses, and $11k in insurance/benefits. That’s a total compensation package of over $82,000. That’s a LOT more than I make, and with a stay-at-home wife and 5 small children, I’ve still managed to put over $30,000 extra on my mortgage in the last 5 years alone. Looking back over his salaries for the last few years, if he’d just put half of his bonuses on his loans, he’d have been done over a decade ago.

          This is not a story about a victimized borrower. This is a story about severe mismanagement of voluntary debt, and the continued and pervasive victimization of taxpayers.

          1. Where did you find Mr Bradford’s actual salary? I found the salary tables for the school district, but I couldn’t find anywhere that stated what his grade and step were.


              If the link doesn’t work, just google “Spokesman Review Yakima school district public wages” and that should point you in the right direction.

          2. EXACTLY!

        2. Yeah his loans are pretty cheap. I’m thinking he’s a bad example. I’d rather have seen this article focus on someone with real debt. Like $100k, $200k, etc.

    2. This guy is doing it wrong.

      A lot of people agree with you. This is one of the reasons why non-profits tend to have difficulty hiring. The PSLF is designed specifically to promote public service, especially service that doesn’t have commercial potential (and usually doesn’t have very good wages). Guys, it’s in the name.

  18. I am currently on income based payment plan for my student loans. Originally I was making payments when I was working, but now I’m on disability due to multiple medical issues. Problem is AS automatically only puts you on a 3 year review instead of a 5 or longer even if you will not be returning to work. So I can’t get my loans forgiven yet and the interest keeps piling on. Since I’m on low income my payments are zero but they still show up on my credit report.

    1. If you’re considered to be totally and permanently disabled by a medical professional, you may qualify for the remainder of your federal student loans to be discharged. Look up Total and Permanent Disability Discharge at On there you’ll find the nber for Nelnet, who handles the discharge process for the Dept. of Ed.

  19. Sounds like a great argument for fewer government programs. Why does the government control the student loan business, again?

    1. ” Why does the government control the student loan business, again?”

      Because back when private industry was controlling it, they were taking on the zero-risk loans and charging high interest rates.

      1. The only reason they were “zero-risk” loans in the first place was that the government was guaranteeing them.

        1. Duh.

          1. Government created this problem! I know what it needs! More government!

            1. Idiocy created this problem. Welcome aboard.

      2. I believe he meant prior to government intervening in student loans altogether.

        The downside was always that kids without a credit history and without parents willing to fund their education did not have the option to go to college, whereas kids who had parents with means did. Student loans were an attempt to improve socioeconomic mobility but not letting kids in unfortunate circumstances fall through the cracks.

        My problem has always been that this has become distorted by other government policies that do the EXACT OPPOSITE in terms of promoting socioeconomic mobility. Government policy has basically provided an avenue that has progressively restricted the choices of individuals, and that restricted path means taking on monstrous amounts of debt. It’s classic fascism.

  20. The headline-writer needs a refresher course in logic.

    The article provides an example of a program that doesn’t work as designed (or was designed poorly, or was designed to achieve different goals than the publicly-stated goals). Anyway, it contains a fairly strong indictment of one particular program. From this, the headline generalizes to all programs. That’s just poor logic.

    1. Remember that headlines are written for clicks, not logic.
      And you clicked.

      1. “And you clicked.”

        But I won’t next time.
        Do they make more money by having me click once, or by having me keep coming back?

  21. Taking this one story and claiming forgiveness programs are useless does not go hand in hand. What ultimately leads to stories like this are people pretending to know everything about these programs and then after making payments for ten years finding out they were incredibly incorrect. This could all have been handled efficiently had the borrower contacted their loan servicer for additional information and guidance and they evidently chose the former. Employment certification is a crucial factor in ensuring your payments as well as employer are eligible for the program. FedLoan servicing will service your loans and guide you to the correct repayment plans if you fill out the Employment Certification Form which upon approval will transfer your federal student loans to them.

  22. Jerryskids|10.5.18 @ 3:35PM|#
    “Because if he got on an income-based repayment plan he’d have the debt paid off in about 2 years. $17k is not a huge amount of money, he’s been paying for 17 years and still owes $7k? Something doesn’t add up there.”

    Really! $85/month would have zero’d it out in 17 years. Something smells.

    1. I’m always amazed when I find intelligence here!

    2. If you choose a repayment plan which features small payments in the early years, and larger payments later on, the interest can exceed payments in the earlier years of repayment causing the balance to grow even though all payments are made.

      People who are just entering the workforce after being students often have low (relative) incomes, such that a pay low now pay high later repayment plan looks good.

      His payments now are higher to make up for both the low payments made early in repayment and the accrued interest while he was making lower payments.

    3. I said more below but it seems that it is not that he couldn’t repay the loan as your work shows, it is that he thought he qualified for the program because he was in an underserved area. He got turned down.

      This may be a different program than ones I am familiar with but loan repayment can have advantages for both sides.

      You need teachers and the county can’t afford to pay any higher. You are in a place few people want to move to when they could make the same or more in a nicer place. They ask the Feds for help.

      So they are recruiting people with debt just out of school as established teachers are unlikely to take the job.

      It is cheaper for the government to just pay out the loan rather than offering the equivalent in salary or bonus because of taxes and interest.

      If this guy really thought that he should have had a contract. Never take anything without a written agreement.

      1. Considering that he didn’t know about the program when he took the job might have affected his ability to get a contract that spelled out his acceptance into the program. Also the fact that contracts can’t bind third parties.

      2. I said more below but it seems that it is not that he couldn’t repay the loan as your work shows, it is that he thought he qualified for the program because he was in an underserved area. He got turned down.

        No, the article says he got turned down because he was on a graduated plan, not that his employment didn’t qualify.

  23. A better idea is just make all of the money you pay back tax deductible like a business expense.

    1. Well, there used to be both a deduction AND a credit back when I last paid attention to such things.

      1. Now you can deduct the interest if your income is below a certain level. I think the principle and the interest should be deductible.

        1. Principle and interest on student loans should be deductible?


          So, is you title Vice Dean, or is it Provost?

  24. Just get rid of any government guarantee for loans made to people without any income.

    Then require ALL higher education institutions, not just ‘for profit’ ones, to publish their rates of graduates who actually get jobs. Maybe include data for how fast loans get paid off, of even how few students need loans at all.

    1. College is not a jobs program. Many people make that mistake which is how they end up in trouble.

      1. Data making this abundantly clear would certainly help clear up that misconception.

    2. Yes to all of this. But also eliminate occupational licensure (and associated degree-based restrictions) while you’re at it, so you no longer force people interested in certain fields into the college pipeline. That’s a major part of the problem here — too many people are going to college, and because the market is distorted, not enough alternative training paradigms are being offered. I’m sure as hell not the first libertarian to suggest that federal aid has had the effect of stifling innovation in education…

  25. SORRY!! I have absolutely NO sympathy for these people. If they don’t pay there loan back I along with the other Taxpayer have to!! I didn’t have any fun, I wasn’t chasing women at parties, and I didn’t go to ball games. I worked, I studied, and got 3 to 6 hours sleep a night while earning 3 Degree’s in less than 4 years. I walked without owing a dime and I’ll be damned if I’m going to now pay for some slackers debt. FUCK THAT!!!!!!!

    1. “SORRY!! I have absolutely NO sympathy for these people.”

      You should get some.
      We need some people to take the jobs that both require an education AND pay not-so-well. If everybody picks only the education that leads to high wages, you wind up with A) those jobs no longer paying high wages, because everyone is coming out of school prepared for them, and B) you have to pay more for the less-desirable jobs, to get anyone to do them.

      Consider legal graduates. Some will come out and join very-high-power law firms doing wall-street work. Some will come out and take jobs prosecuting and defending criminals who don’t have any money. Prosecutor jobs pay… poorly, and indigent-defense pays even worse.

      1. You posted this several times now.
        Yes, we need people to take unpleasant jobs. I’m not sure this one counts, but even so – he is NOT poorly paid.
        He makes a dead minimum of $40,000 per year. If he never got a raise in all 17 years.

        That’s $680,000 in income. Subtract 30% for state and federal takes (likely high – average tax unit income is $75K) and you get $476,000.
        Yakima single family homes cost about $200,000.
        A new car costs roughly $30,000 for mid-model.
        He could have bought an entire single family home, two brand new cars, and have spent a whopping $1000 a month on food and entertainment… and STILL have paid off his debt!

        The complaints about the program may be valid. But this guy is a terrible example of anyone needing debt forgiveness. But unless he has a serious cancer or something, and the article failed to mention it, I think that having sympathy for him is wrong.

        1. But this guy is a terrible example of anyone needing debt forgiveness.

          This is true. $17k (minus whatever he’s already paid) isn’t enough debt to write a story about. But there are people with outrageous levels of debt, so the topic is still one worth discussing. It’s not uncommon for people to have monthly student loan bills approaching $2,000, which is a lot more difficult to carry without income-based repayment. And when they choose income-based repayment, it then means that they will never pay off their debts in their lifetime.

          We have to have a serious conversation in this country about why it costs so much money to go to school. And why, for example, graduate students who work 40, 60, or 80 hours a week for the university and don’t take a single class are still paying tuition. And at the same time are making nominal salaries and (usually) sign no-moonlighting contracts. This is a significant issue.

      2. “We need some people to take the jobs that both require an education AND pay not-so-well. ”

        What we need is a better understanding about the difference between a need and a want.

        And then we can move on to an education about how price signals define the difference between the two.

        1. If you want more of something the two options you have are either pay more for it, or find a way to produce it more cheaply.

          Government backed student loans have done exactly the opposite of the latter.

    2. Your anger is misplaced.

  26. When I started college tuition for a 4-year BA cost about $2800. Upping the cost by a factor of ten was doubtless useful in turning colleges into institutions in which individuals are programmed to grovel before The Political State.

  27. One thing good that seems to be trending more now is to have students take a one or two year gap after high school. Few 18 year olds know what they want and often make poor choices because they are expected and encouraged to go right into college. Some real world work experience is a valuable thing. In many places they often also travel or enroll in some program overseas.

    That would result in less wasted tuition money and fewer problems with loan repayment.

    1. Technical schools are not a bad option for HS grads who are not really ready to commit to college. In a year or so you can become an LPN, HVAC tech, apprentice at welding, or machining, and have earning potential equal to many with four year degrees.

      Plus it didn’t cost you four years, or an arm & a leg so you can easily walk away from it if something else comes along. And, if you maintain whatever certifications are necessary you can always fall back on it if things get rough or you need a side gig.

  28. Why should anyone get a taxpayer backed student loan “forgiven”? I don’t get it. When you don’t personally pay for something (in this case a college education) you value it less and put less into it than you otherwise would have. The hope of getting it for “free” cheapens the whole thing.

    1. It is an incentive to get people to fill critical jobs in underserved areas.

      I don’t know about this person but most of those are in poor areas and pay less. For example you need a dentist in an Indian reservation far away from the nearest one. The dentist could make more money and have a better life in the city so it is a perk the government offers.

      In a case like that it is like a grant that the tribe would apply for, or the county in this case, loan repayment and maybe money to pay for the dentist or teacher. Not sure of the details.

      The military makes offers like this from time to time to attract doctors and other jobs they need filled. Some businesses offer money to repay loans as a perk.

      Sounds like this person could have paid the loan but thought he qualified for the program and now the government is saying that he does not.

      1. Just to add. I had some offers like that. Those were specific jobs with a contract for x years. Doesn’t sound like that was the case for this guy so the story is muddled.

        1. I am a little muddled myself tonight but one more thought. The advantage to the offer is taxes and interest. If they pay the loan out you are not stuck paying in post tax dollars plus interest. So you are getting something better than a cash bonus. They call it forgiveness but the government does not own the loan, Sallie Mae or someone does, they pay it out as I understand it.

    2. Why should anyone get a taxpayer backed student loan “forgiven”? I don’t get it.

      Because the student loan was a crony arrangement between the government, the government-backed schooling system, and the government-backed banking industry. These three things are not independent entities looking out for the interest of the consumer. We call this collusion. Or, more to the point, a fucking racket.

      Crony capitalism hard at work. Libertarians should understand what’s going on here.

  29. Well, here’s an idea – pay back what you borrow.

    Even crazier – don’t spend 100s of 1,000s getting Masters in History to become a HS teacher

    1. In many school systems a master’s degree is, if not absolutely necessary, necessary for advancement and opportunity.

      Is it often nothing more than credentialism and the self interest of the education-industrial complex? Of course.

      Look at this guy – he’s been making minimum payments for 17 years and now he want a pony.

  30. It’s such a BS program in concept, as well as execution. Why should teachers and government employees be able to get loans forgiven and not everyone? Is it because people in those careers tend to vote Democrat? Why are they more “worthy” of getting out of loan agreements than anyone else?

    1. Why should teachers and government employees be able to get loans forgiven and not everyone?

      The argument goes like this: the public has an interest in hiring people who have been extensively trained and at salaries lower than they might find in the private sector. The strategy, therefore, is to entice that person to work for you by promising to wipe out their debt in 10 years. The vast majority of people don’t typically last that long in public service, so you won’t have to actually follow through with your promise most of the time.

      It’s not a terrible strategy by the government if the goal is to entice qualified individuals into public service at a rate below market value. The military does similar things.

  31. I bet there’s more people administering the plan than being helped by it.

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