The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Federal Student Loans Should Be Abolished.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/15/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,414 times Debate No: 49170
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)




Hello, this will be a debate on whether or not federal student loans should be abolished.

As pro, I will affirm that the federal student loan system is more harmful than beneficial to society, and that there are better alternatives to the current system. Con will be defending the status quo.

I would like a debater who has had at least 3 debates completed. The debate will be 4 rounds, with an 8,000 character limit. First round may be for acceptance only or for con's first arguments, depending on what con wishes to do.

I hope for a great debate!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Opening Statements

I thank my opponent for accepting the debate, and hope for a good one. I will separate my arguments into 5 sections so as to make them more structured.

Federal Student Loans Have Caused an Education Bubble

Over the past few decades, tuition has skyrocketed inside the United States. Between 1978 and 2012, the tuition in the US has increased 1210%, or 12-fold.(1) This is also 4 times faster than the increase in the consumer price index. This is obviously a huge problem, so the first steps we must take to come up with a solution is to look for the cause or causes.

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, stated that "The basic problem is simple: Give everyone $100 to pay for higher education and colleges will raise their prices by $100, negating the value of the aid. And inflation-adjusted aid--most of it federal--has certainly gone up, ballooning from $4,602 per undergraduate in 1990-91 to $12,455 in 2010-11. As it did in the housing market, free or reduced priced has artificially inflated the price of college education. Thus begins a classic upward price spiral caused by government intervention: Subsidies raise prices, leading to higher subsidies, which raise prices even more. Yet this higher education bubble, like the housing bubble, will eventually pop. Meanwhile, large numbers of students will graduate with more debt than they would have in an unsubsidized market."(1)

Patrick Hedger, a policy analyst from FreedomWorks, found that “Students are taking out cheap loans as liberally as colleges spend their tuition. With money readily available at low rates to anyone who asks, students never think twice and colleges have no incentive to keep prices low. The end result is tens of thousands of dollars worth of each student’s tuition being spent by universities on superfluous things designed simply to draw more and more students and their government-backed blank checks."(2)

Federal Student Loans Have Cause a Rise in Tuition

As a result of the Education Bubble, tuition has been artificially inflated through government intervention.

Chris Edwards, from the Cato Institute, explains that “It is a matter of supply and demand. More and more Americans have sought a college education which has pushed prices higher. Ordinarily, such upward pressure would be restrained by consumer willingness to pay, but as government subsidies have helped absorb tuition increase, the public’s budget constraint has been lifted.”(3)

Peter Wood, a professor at Boston University noted that federal subsidies “are seen by colleges and universities as money that is there for the taking … tuition is set high enough to capture those funds and whatever else we think can be extracted from parents.(4)

Federal Student Loans have Harmed Students

Not only do student loans cause a rise in tuition, they also harm students various ways.

A. Cause Unemployment

In 2012, about 1.5 million, or 56%, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest since in of least 11 years.(5) How could this have happened?

Patrick Hedger explains "“Federal student loans, which are soon to be the only education loans available, severely up start the market and are directly responsible for the surge of under-and unemployed youths with bachelor’s degrees.”

B. Students are Negatively Impacted by Debt

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities found that “Students often see higher education as the primary path to upward mobility, but when they accumulate excessive debt, this pathway quickly becomes riddled with pitfalls. Students graduate with debt may put off life milestones such as buying a car, owning a home, getting married, or entering certain low paying professions like teaching or social work.” (6)

Also from the AASCU, “Particularly worrisome is that the number of college graduates with $40,000 in student loan debt has increase 10-fold in the past decade. Those numbers pose long-term threats to recent college graduates lifelong decisions, but the financial future of borrowers who do not earn a degree is even bleaker.”

C. Student Loans Harms Students' Credit Score

Student loans also put many students at risk of ruining their credit score if they fail to pay off the extremely high debt on time.

“Because your student loans are little to be your first significant loan into the world of credit, it’s imperative that you handle these loans wisely.”

“Missing even one payment can trash your Credit Score. And a bad Credit Score can lead to higher costs for loans, higher insurance premiums, and trouble when attempting to get a job or an apartment.”(7)

Defaulting on a student loan goes on your credit report and can seriously hinder your ability to get a loan later in your life. Student Loan defaulters are restricted in their access to bankruptcy protection. The IRS can seize defaulters’ income tax refunds, and students who default on an education are prohibited from participating in the student loan program thereafter.(8)

Sadly, many students end up defaulting on their loans, ruining their credit scores. Last year one in 10 recent borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans within the first two years, the highest default rate since 1995, according to annual figures made public Monday by the Department of Education.(9)


My opponent will likely state that federal student loans are necessary for our education system. I will contend there are better alternatives.

Tax Credits

I support the expansion of the tax credit system for low-income students. Currently, there are various tax credits already available to students.(10)

The American Opportunity Tax Credit those eligible qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student.

The Lifetime Learning may allow students and parents to claim up to $2,000 for qualified education expenses paid for all students enrolled in eligible educational institutions.

Deductions are also available to student, The tuition and fees deduction can reduce the amount of your income subject to tax by up to $4,000.

The benefits of the tax credit system is it decreases the cost burden on low-income workers without putting poor students into huge amounts of debt. Another benefit is it doesn't cost other taxpayers anything, it simply decreases taxes for the individuals it's intended to help.

Work and Study

Working while going to college is a viable alternative to students who need money to pay for tuition. Not only does the money you earn pay for the tuition, but there are also other benefits. One benefit of working while in college is that it can help build your resume, regardless if the job is in your field, according to a article on balancing work and college.(11)

There are also Vocational Programs, Grants, Direct Aid, Scholarships, and investment plans. As I've run out of time and characters, I will go into alternatives deeper next round.









8. Chang, Cello. “The Impact of College Debt and costs”. Dis. California State Polytechnic University. Pomona. 2000. Print. P.12






Before I begin, a brief observation:

Pro is making the claim, therefore he has the burden of proof. His burden is to prove that federal student loans should be abolished. As con, my burden is to negate his argument. That could mean that I argue that there is something wrong with the federal student loan system, and that such a problem needs to be addressed, but not addressed in the way PRO proposes OR it could mean that I defend the status quo. It could mean that I argue that the harms PRO seeks to address are not problems, or his solution is not sufficient to address them. All would negate the resolution. Now, I'll talk about PRO's case, and make some counter arguments in response.

PRO's Case:

PRO's first argument states that federal student loans have caused an education bubble.

He reasons that tuition has "skyrocketed" because federal student loans, which he calls a subsidy, cause prices to rise. Indeed, there may be some correlation there, but the fact that students have access to federal student loans is not by itself enough to indicate that those loans specifically caused an increase in tuition prices because there could be any number of other factors. For example, colleges may have had to raise tuition prices because their operating costs increased and federal student loans offset that higher operating cost. It could be that public universities receive less public funding, and therefore universities must offset that shortfall by raising tuition. It could be that universities just do more for students now, and waste resources on things like unnecessarily extravagant dormitories and facilities. It could be that university endowments just aren't as big as they once were and students have to foot the bill in consequence.


So, if tuition prices are something PRO wants to fix, he's ignoring the bigger picture. But, let's talk about the harm of abolishing student loans. Federal student loan interest rates range from about 3.86% - 5%, and their rates are fixed.


Private student loans are usually considerably higher than that. Discover's fixed rate undergraduate student loan rates begin at 6.74% and can rise to 10.99%.


Suntrust fixed rate student loans range from 4.751% APR to 10.415% APR.


Federal student loans more affordable for all students now because the interest rates are lower. If federal student loans were abolished, it is reasonable to infer as well that private student loan rates would increase because of both increased demand for them, and because private institutions would have the luxury to set their borrowing rates much higher. That would increase the overall cost of education much more for all students who must borrow to afford college, and amplify the long term harms that PRO is trying to remediate by abolishing student loans.

PRO repeats himself with a second contention that "federal student loans have caused a rise in tuition."

PRO contends that tuition prices have been artificially inflated because of government intervention. Yet, the evidence he offers for that, from the Cato institute, suggests that the reason for increased prices is because of supply and demand imbalances, such that because "more Americans have sought education" tuition prices are "higher." So, the cause of tuition increases has more to do with increased demand for higher education than the fact that the federal government makes college comparably more affordable than private lending institutions.

PRO's other warrant offers another alternative cause: university greed. Pro cites Peter Wood, a professor at Boston University, who said that "colleges and universities" set tuition "high enough to capture... funds" wherever they "can be extracted from parents." So, while it is the case that money to pay for college is easier to come by where federal student loans are an option, that does not mean that abolishing federal student loans is either going to reduce tuition rates or have any impact to lower the cost of higher education at all so long as colleges retain the incentive to charge higher prices and students have access to private loans. So, PRO's solution is not only insufficient to address the problem he's trying to solve, but it very likely could make the problem worse by increasing the overall cost of education -both tuition prices and interest paid on private student loans.

PRO's final argument is that "federal student loans" have harmed students."

PRO argues that because in 2012, 56% of bachelors degree holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed and that student loans are directly responsible for unemployment among those with bachelors degrees. He offers no causal link between student loans student loans and unemployment, however. He fails to consider that the number of people who are under the age of 25 who are unemployed or under employed would be higher if those people did not have a bachelors degree, and ignores the possibility that the extant US economic situation is more directly to blame for aggregate high unemployment rates among all Americans and especially among people entering the labor force for the first time. He likewise offers no explanation for how abolishing federal student loans will lower unemployment or underemployment.

PRO contends that students are negatively impacted by debt, and therefore student loans should be abolished. But, what PRO fails to consider, which I have addressed earlier, is that in the absence of federal student loans, students who need to borrow to afford college must seek other means. The only other option for the vast majority of those students would be private lenders, whose interest rates are already higher than federal student loan rates and whose interest rates would skyrocket if federal student loans were abolished. The impact of this would be to raise the cost of borrowing money, which would profoundly increase the cost of higher education, which would exacerbate the problem pro is seeking to address rather than remediating it.

PRO argues that federal student loans harm student's credit scores, which is just false. Students build credit while they are in college, and their scores are only harmed if they default. If students default on payments, that is because they did not pay back money they borrowed, not because they were leant money in the first place. Pro fails to account for this.

Irrelevant Alternatives

PRO's alternatives are irrelevant to this debate because the resolution is only about whether or not student loans should be abolished. That there are other alternatives PRO thinks are better than student loans do not help his case because his alternatives (tax credits and work study programs) can coexist along with federal student loans and we know this because, based on the evidence he cited, similar programs already do.

I'll look forward to the next round.
Debate Round No. 2


Valladarex forfeited this round.


This round intentionally left blank, so as to give fair and equitable character space to both my opponent and I. I would request that judges not penalize my opponent for forfeiting that last round.

Debate Round No. 3


Valladarex forfeited this round.


Well, I guess that's that.

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Valladarex 2 years ago
Alright it's open for you, YYW.
Posted by YYW 2 years ago
I will be more than happy to take this.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by dtaylor971 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con wins conduct due to forfeiture.
Vote Placed by OtakuJordan 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good arguments from both parties, but Pro dropped far too many arguments via forfeit too win.
Vote Placed by thett3 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited