Should SWFL taxpayers cover the student loans of other people?
The federal government is making it easier for students to pay back their school debt. It includes incentives for them to work in the government after graduation. But, it could mean taxpayers are helping to cover the student loans of other people.
Deborah Cadet knows the struggle is real of balancing work and school. She has two part-time jobs. One is at Lowe’s Home Improvement and the other is at Bed Bath & Beyond. However, the positions do not pay enough, so she has taken out student loans as she invests in her education at Florida Gulf Coast University.
For students like Cadet, they have the option of working for the government and have their student loans forgiven.
The most recent numbers from 2017 show the government spent $74.9 million in student loan forgiveness to help recruit or retain qualified employees. While that number is up by about 3.3 million from last year, it is down over 10 million from 2010.
“I feel like some taxpayers don’t know exactly what their money is going towards,” Cadet said. “What if that taxpayer is saying, ‘I don’t believe in higher education? Why should I pay for it?’ So yea, I do feel like that’s kind of wrong.”
Overall, 34 federal agencies have used taxpayer money to repay student loans. The agencies that used the most money include the defense and justice departments, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The strategy helps government agencies compete with the talent in the private sector.
“An education helps everyone in the community,” said Kelsea O’Reilly, an FGCU student. “It helps our society as a whole.”