We have mixed feelings about Lincoln University’s announcement that it will write off $ 1.5 million in student debt for approximately 930 current students.
From the point of view of LU’s board of directors, this is probably a smart move. The money comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds from the CARES Act.
As we reported, LU will cover student balances accrued from Spring Semester 2020 to Summer Semester 2021. It will cover student balances for all current students who have been in debt since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. .
LU struggled to register for years, a problem only exacerbated by the pandemic. Some of his students have exceeded $ 600 in unpaid balances, which is the threshold to be considered unpaid, meaning they cannot register for classes in the fall.
The average student balance is $ 1,634, so the debt forgiveness will keep students in school who otherwise may not be able to return until they have paid off their student debt.
“Paying for college has long been a concern for far too many of our students, but even more so as we deal with the economic problems the pandemic has caused,” Acting President John Moseley said in a press release . “Our founders used the funds they had to offer the opportunity to study in 1866. We are doing the same for our students in 2021, thanks to the CARES law.”
Our main objection to the plan is the same as with much of the CARES Act spending: it crushes our nation under rapidly mounting debt.
Freeing students from debt – while a nice gesture – is probably not what many taxpayers had in mind when it comes to federal spending in the event of a pandemic.
The other problem with the program is the element of fairness. What about all of the former LU students who struggled but found a way to pay for their education? And all future students who will do the same?
Rather than taking a canon approach to paying off student debt during the pandemic, why not at least ask students to apply and write off the debt of those who really need it?
Despite our reluctance, we hope the program will help current students achieve their full education, while helping LU maintain enrollment numbers.