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LETTERS

Canceling student debt won’t solve the thorny problem of college costs

In this May 7 file photo, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley graduates sit social distanced in the early morning sunrise during their commencement ceremony at the school's parking lot in Edinburg, Texas.
In this May 7 file photo, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley graduates sit social distanced in the early morning sunrise during their commencement ceremony at the school's parking lot in Edinburg, Texas.Delcia Lopez/Associated Press

As a higher-education professional, I have seen the burden of student debt. However, the proposal to cancel federally held college debt for all is not the way to solve this thorny problem (“The Biden administration must cancel student loan debt,” Opinion, July 12).

I worked for a private university for many years. I would routinely speak with parents and students about how to pay for college. I would also look at how the university was spending the money it received for tuition and room and board.

Unfortunately, families have been sold a bill of goods that borrowing money to fulfill the dreams of their children is a greater good for society. Amenities such as gourmet dining, new athletic fields, and luxurious dorms can offer an experience that has fueled an arms race for these schools. Parents are eagerly putting on a ball and chain that will follow them into retirement with Parent Plus loans. Students are signing loan paperwork without a thought to how that debt will hinder their ability to choose employment in the future.

There needs to be more education of families as to the options for their children to obtain the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century and beyond. For those students who cannot afford even the most basic options for education, there should be free college.

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I often compare college to the most basic of needs: transportation. Although I might certainly want the features on a luxury car, I can purchase a safe, reliable car for much less.

Education beyond high school is critical. However, let’s use our resources to benefit the most in need by investing more in K-12 education, fully funding state universities and community colleges, and taking a hard look at the inflationary spiral in higher ed.

Joanne Robertson

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Wareham