Archive for the ‘Student debt’ category

Student debt – who should pay?

February 18, 2012

The recent Occupy protests in the Anglosphere have focused attention on the issue of student debt, and whether or not students  who are unable to pay back their debt should have their debts written off.

Many on the liberal right argue that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions, while many on the left argue they were doing something that the government, the banks and the media encouraged them to – get an education – and shouldn’t be held personally accountable for their indebtedness.

My view is somewhere in between. On the one hand they should have to make some contribution to paying off their debts, if only to discourage yet more students to get into debt, while on the other hand, those who encouraged them to get into debt ( the banks and the tertiary institutions) should also shoulder some of the cost.

Since everyone’s personal situation is different, government departments should also be given more flexibility to strike workable deals with particular students. For example, in New Zealand, the government reduces interest on student loans for students who stay in New Zealand after graduating, and increases interest rates for students who go overseas. However, not all degrees are of equal value to the country, and if a student is unable to find work in New Zealand, then why not let them go overseas to earn the funds to help pay off their debts?