Progressives have had their focus on making college "tuition free" (translation: we'll all pay higher taxes) and cancelling student loan debt for those who already went. During a speech about the very topic, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made a rather interesting statement about her own personal student loans.
"It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman in American history elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt," AOC told a crowd.
She also recounted a personal experience she had mentoring a 16-year-old while she was in college. The girl she mentored got into her dream school but faced taking on $250,000 worth of student loans in order to attend that university.
"She had gotten into all of these prestigious universities but she was given no student loan assistance. She was given no scholarships," Ocasio-Cortez explained. "All of her 'student aid' was presented to her in the form of loans and she came from a solid middle class family. She was not exceedingly wealthy. And so, she got into her dream college but her dream college offered her no scholarships, just loans and she truly felt, at 16, 17-years-old, she felt that the decision of college was so important, that she felt she needed to consider taking on $250,000 worth of debt to go to college."
"And here she is, 17-years-old, calling her from my dormitory, a 19-year-old consulting a 17-year-old, about a $250,000 loan debt situation. And I think that in and of itself illustrates the absurdity of our education financing system," AOC explained. "That alone illustrates it because what we tell 17-year-olds all the time is that you are not old enough and responsible enough to drink. You are not old enough or responsible enough to vote. You are not old enough or responsible enough to serve in our military. But you are old enough and responsible enough to take on a quarter of a million dollars worth of debt. And that is wrong."
College has gotten so ridiculously expensive for two reasons:
1) We tell everyone and everyone that they need to go to college. We tell everyone and everyone that in order to make something of themselves that they have to obtain a college degrees. We no longer appreciate or encourage people to take on trades, like plumbing or electrical work, yet there's a high demand for these jobs. The demand is so high that people in trades are making two to three times more money than someone with a bachelor's degree.
2) The federal government decided to get involved to "level the playing field" for everyone when they got involved in student loans. It's like everything else. The government gets involved and prices skyrocketed.
When students decide to go to college, they know the decision they're making. If someone doesn't receive scholarships, they know they'll have the burden of student loans for years to come. But they decide the risk is worth the reward. They take them out and they go to school. That was a decision that they made. Actually, for most students, it's a family decision. The government doesn't put that loan solely in the student's name. Most of those types of loans are put in PLUS loans, which are under the parent's name. You know why? Because there's established credit history there. The government can see if the parents are responsible and if the bill will be repaid.
While I feel for people who have "dream colleges," you can't have it both ways. My dream college happened to be AOC's alma mater, Boston University. When I was looking at going there tuition alone was $52,000 a year. That didn't include room and board, a meal plan, class fees, books, etc. That was only tuition. I made a choice and went to a smaller, public university because it was more affordable. But guess what? I still have student loans. And I pay for them. Every. Single. Month.
If students don't feel that can take on that debt, then there are other options: community colleges, in-state public universities and even online classes. They can pay as they go or they can go to a trade school.
It's sad that Ocasio-Cortez said it's easier to become a Congresswoman than it is to pay off her student loans. You'd think with that $174,000 a year salary that she'd be able to pay those off in full. Guess money management is an issue for her.