On Thursday, Campus Reform uploaded a video in which Eduardo Neret asks students at the University of Tampa “about student loan debt, and how it should be paid for.”
Neret begins by asking various students how much debt they carry from their student loans. The debts vary among respondents, from $0 to $5,000 to $24,000 to simply “a lot” of student loan debt.
“So, there have been a lot of talks in society and in politics about the federal government wiping out student loan debt,” Neret states. “Does that sounds like a good idea to you? Would you be for that?”
The students’ initial replies were unsurprising:
“Yeah, yeah I would.”
“I think that everybody that goes to school should be able to go to school debt free and be able to start off their career with no debt to owe to anybody.”
A female student wearing a Budweiser T-shirt suggested raising taxes “for other people or something.” She then noted, “but that’s like other people paying for your stuff, you know?”
Neret then offered a solution to those who stated that they didn’t have any student loan debt:
Since you don’t have student loan debt, something we’re asking students is, would you be willing as someone who has no debt to pay a little bit more so that some of your peers who do have debt could get that erased off? Would you be willing to maybe pay more tuition, pay more taxes so that someone could get their debt lowered?
At Neret’s suggestion, some students were hesitant.
“Probably…maybe, maybe?” said a female student wearing a blue and white striped shirt.
When Neret asked what was keeping her from committing to the idea, she replied: “Cause like, I have to make my own money, so like, if I make my money, like, I kind of want to keep my money that, like, I make, and not have to, like, give it to my friends.”
A male student with black glasses simply stated “No.” When asked why he wouldn’t pay more taxes or tuition, he elaborated:
Because I’m paying my price just like everybody else is, and, you know, as long as it’s equal, then, you know, it is what it is.
Some students demurred, noting that it’s “not their money,” rather, it’s their parents who are paying for tuition. Other students did say they would be willing to pay extra.
Neret pressed several of the students, asking why it would be acceptable for taxpayers to pay more, but not necessarily students who don’t have any debt.
One student replied: “Everyone’s gonna pay taxes sooner or later, so, like, you know, it’s just fair for people to, I guess, help students out that are gonna be our future workers.”
A student with a Calvin Klein backpack had the following exchange with Neret:
NERET: Why do you think it’s maybe more fair for someone in the real world, like a taxpayer, to pay more, but not maybe someone on a campus?
CK: Because they have their own other issues that they’re still paying for, even if it’s not student debt. So, they have to take care of themselves as well.
NERET: But don’t you think maybe someone who’s working and has a family – don’t you think taxpayers have things to take care of, too?
CK: Yes, so I guess I’m not really exactly sure what I would say, but I agree that they do have things that they need to take care of, too.
Finally, three students offered different takes.
“I’d be in favor of, like, more things that would limit the amount that they can take out in loans, and then lowering the interest rates, and actually making school cheaper,” said a female student wearing a blue fleece.
When Neret asked her why she wouldn’t “be in favor of just wiping” out student debt entirely, she responded:
Because, like, the people took out those loans, so they have to pay it back, and it’s like, if they don’t, are we just gonna go into more debt for the government to pay it back?
A male student wearing a wrestling shirt stated that it wouldn’t be fair to raise tuition on everyone else, adding, “I think the bigger issue is making it harder to get the student loans. I think the issue with ‘anybody can get as much as they want’ is what’s causing this.”
Another male student said that while it would be great to exit school debt-free, he doesn’t believe debt erasure would be “good for us as a nation,” given the already enormous debt the United States holds.
Check out the entire video below: