A steely resolve to pay for college
For 4½ years I worked full-time night shifts in a pre-OSHA steel mill in West Virginia under treacherous and physically demanding conditions while carrying a full academic load at college. It’s called busting your butt to achieve that degree. I assure you I had neither “financial security” nor a “stable life.” I graduated magna cum laude, having paid for college through my work. Then after two years of graduate school achieving an MBA with honors in 1971, I graduated with about $16,000 in student loan debt, about $110,000 in today’s money. It took me a few years, but I paid off every penny. Furthermore, I established four endowed scholarships at my undergraduate college because I believe in giving back. So I appreciate and understand, but have little sympathy with Amanda Leaders’ desire for a “stable” life and “financial” security as expressed in this front page article in the Times. I’m okay with pausing, deferring, even extending tuition payments, but where does the socialist expectation come from for the rest of us to pay for the millennials’ student debt? If President Joe Biden decrees that student debt be forgiven, do I get my hard-earned money back?
Peter Sontag, Clearwater
Find the balance
There is a case for moderating the college loan debt of many students when you measure the debt against their projected post-college earnings and the nation’s interest in a well-educated population. Students receiving MBAs and degrees in many science fields have strong projected future earnings, but that is not true of many graduates in the humanities, sociology and psychology. President Joe Biden’s proposed $10,000 debt reduction is too small and a higher figure is pragmatic. But writing down the entire debt is unacceptable to taxpayers, and students should have some personal investment in their career choice. However, other considerations must be weighed, such as educating students (and parents) earlier in financial literacy. Other ideas? Colleges and universities should not raise tuition each year above the cost of living, they should better control college administrative costs, and there should be measured increases in faculty salaries. States can increase their support of college education, too. Careful thought is required when you talk about debt that far exceeds $1 trillion.
James Gillespie, St. Petersburg
Don’t borrow what you can’t repay
So, people took out student loans and now say they can’t or shouldn’t have to pay them back? Boo hoo. What about all the people who paid the tuition themselves or were helped by a family member? Should they get a refund if all student debt is forgiven? I have taken out various loans over the years totaling in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and paid all of them back. It is called borrowing for a reason. If you can’t afford to pay back borrowed funds, don’t take out the loan.
Sam Jordan, St. Petersburg
Are mortgages next?
The reason student loans are so high is because the government got involved in the first place. If loans are forgiven, college will become more expensive because universities will know the government will step in again. I’ve never had a student loan and know several people who have paid theirs. Why should we now be responsible for other people’s loans? What’s next, mortgage and car loans?
Elizabeth Brewer, St. Petersburg
Life without a black robe
Amid calls for change, chief justice cites independence | Jan. 2
Chief Justice John Roberts is an idealist. Somehow, he confused independence with obliviousness. To be a true idealist one must first be a clear-eyed realist, because reality is what people base their ideals on and, in turn, those ideals help make reality bearable. Unfortunately, while his honor dreams his lofty dreams, his feet are nowhere near any of the rest of America’s feet are. I dare say, Justice Roberts and the majority of his fellow justices have no clue what life is like for most of us.
Brian Walkowiak, St. Petersburg
The problem with lines
Florida cases skyrocket | Jan. 1
Regarding those people waiting in line for hours to get a COVID test: Don’t they know they are supposed to avoid large crowds and social gatherings?
John Spengler, Spring Hill