Although the degree to which we each worry may differ, one thing U.S. citizens continue to be bonded by is the very real concern for our individual financial future. We are creatures seeking stability, who crave comfort and experience anxiety when confronted with uncertainty and unanswered questions. The fact remains: we are ruled by the economic marketplace, beholden to capital and material goods, and the market makes sure to discipline those who step out of line. In this world, money is a means to life, and in this world, if you do not have it, social or biological death (or both) is the result. We have invented scholarships, financial aid, loans, etc. as a result of tuition increases, crippling student debt and the absurdity which is the U.S. — the most expensive place to go to college in the world.
Students at Ithaca College are well aware of increasing tuition, student debt and financial instability as the college’s tuition rate is now $8,425 higher than the average $38,185 price tag for American private colleges. Conversations around these stressors have been occurring for quite some time now. They occasionally occur in classrooms, in the privacy of your home, over coffee at a cafe, on the phone with some institution, in the everyday passing of strangers, but mostly these conversations reside in our subconscious — always and at all times. The conversation remains stagnant while the anxiety builds, until it has bubbled up to a place where we can no longer afford to be so redundant. Enter: the movement to cancel student debt.
The idea of canceling federal student loan debt felt like a tangible possibility when popularized by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the 2020 presidential election cycle, and then-candidate Joe Biden seemed to be onboard. While now-President Biden has canceled some outstanding student loans he still holds the power to cancel all student debt. As we patiently wait for Biden to enact this executive order that would not require action by Congress, we are left feeling like this once tangible idea is nothing but an afterthought. So, the conversation restarts, and we continue to ask the same questions: if the Biden administration can effortlessly fund the military billions of dollars, why can’t they invest some in educational funding? Will we ever stop worrying about our financial futures? Will tuition increases and student debts ever be a thing of the past?