Helping the many Georgians into debt helps the state

The White House puts cumulative student loan debt at $1.6 trillion. An analysis of the three-part Biden loan plan by University of Pennsylvania budget model Penn Wharton pegs the cost at $519 billion with 75% of the benefit going to households earning $88,000 or less per year.

Affected Americans include many older people: more than 3.5 million are over 60. Georgia is among the states with a high number of borrowers. Federal Reserve Data from 2021 shows that more than 1.6 million Georgians hold student loans. These Georgian borrowers have the third highest average loan balance in the country, $41,600, after Washington, DC and Maryland, according to the Education Data Initiative.

ExploreStudent Loan Debt by State

The US Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness to Pell Fellowship recipients, who as students came from low-income households. Two-thirds of Pell recipients come from families who earn less than $30,000 per year. Non-Pell borrowers can get up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness. Borrowers are only eligible if their personal income is less than $125,000.

The reaction to university loan cancellations has been marked by a lot of hypocrisy, especially from Georgian politicians who have taken taxpayers’ money during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them is U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose family construction business, Taylor Commercial, received a $183,504 forgiveness in Paycheck Protection Program loans. Yet she lambasted debt relief for student loans.

So did U.S. Representative Andrew Clyde, who called Biden’s student loan bailout “a highway robbery.” In an email to constituents, Clyde said, “Why should a Gainesville poultry farmer pay for a gender studies degree at Berkeley? In what world is it acceptable to demand that an Ellijay elementary school teacher pay off the student loan debt of an unemployed Portland graduate? »

ExploreWhite House calls out Republicans who decry debt cancellation but had PPP loans

Clyde was granted $154,950 worth of PPP loan forgiveness that his gun store, Clyde Armory, received. US Senate candidate Herschel Walker criticized the student loan forgiveness plan even as taxpayers took out $182,800 in PPP loan forgiveness for his poultry business.

There is much debate among economists about the viability of the Biden plan. However, there is no debate about the need for more educated workers.

“Georgia, along with the rest of the South and the nation, needs more students to enter — and graduate — post-secondary education,” said Stephen Pruitt, president of the nonpartisan organization. Southern Regional Board of Education in Atlanta. “Specifically in the job market, we need more students from low-income families to succeed in different types of colleges. The current and future workplace requires more people to have advanced vocational training and two- and four-year degrees. We need more people in Georgia ready for today’s high demand and the highly skilled career fields of the future.


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John A. Bogar