Make Students Earn Loan Forgiveness, Not Just Give It to Them!

Recently the province of Newfoundland decided to abandon student loans and just give away grants. Now, other provinces, including my own of Nova Scotia, are being called upon by students and others to do the same. I say BS to that and propose a far better idea.

Why don’t we make the students earn it?

Make it like a passing standard. If you can get a certain grade point average or better, you are either guaranteed, or have a good chance at, some amount of student loan forgiveness.

Gee. Earning something. You think students could benefit from that life skill somehow?

Option 1 – Threshold GPA

It would be simple to guarantee a certain grade point average or better some student loan forgiveness. However, the unpredictability of how many students that might include would make it chaotic for government and/or institutions in on the deal. Yes, I said institutions. How’s about they step up as well? They give scholarships that try to predict the future based on the past, but that’s a bit of a futile exercise if you check how many lose their scholarships and how many top students weren’t given one upon entry. How’s about they recycle the lost scholarship money and chip in some on top? This is like retro scholarships. You do well and it’s like a reward but also apology on the scholarship side that maybe they should have given you one!

As for picking a threshold GPA, use past data and pick a safe threshold. For example, if you can forgive 2000 loans to some extent, pick a threshold where only 1800 or 1900 have achieved in the previous years. Even if institutions try to make it easier to get grades so students will go there hoping to have a better chance at getting loans, and some will, you can accommodate. You can adjust the threshold each year. Be prepared to maybe run over budget a bit, for which you can reduce next year’s budget by to stay stable annually in the long run. If you have excess, either put it towards next year’s budget or just have a draw among the next batch. So if B+ was required, involve everyone down to a B now and have a lottery of however many forgiveness situations you could accommodate. That could be fun, too!

Option 2 – Top X number of students

Anyway, so what if one can’t guarantee a GPA threshold with student loan forgiveness? Take the top X number of students a budget can be allotted to forgive, and whoever those students are, they get. For a number tied at the bottom, the last ones on the list, either give them all forgiveness and run over budget by a bit. As if no government department has ever ran over budget! Or deny forgiveness to all those students tied at the bottom. Or draw names so if only 3 amounts were left but 10 were tied, 3 of 10 will get it. People will also be just on the outside of the threshold. Well, too bad! There’s always going to be that. If you don’t want to end up there, try a little harder to reduce your chances!

Advertising an estimated GPA to expect a good chance at loan forgiveness is optional with this option, and would be advised so students have a goal to work towards. Given data from the past, a department can predict a GPA threshold at which there’s a good chance at loan forgiveness, with promise to exhaust the budget set aside. Put it up front and people will just have to deal with it, but they’ll know everything set aside will be given out, at least. It’s a lot better than the nothing that’s going on around now, and lack of responsibility that loans are sometimes given out to all kinds of people who default on them. I would bet most of the latter are not the most responsible with their money, and don’t have to greatest grades to be earning one of these “earned” loans.

Either way, stop the entitled forgiveness!

Getting into the details of either options proposed could provide other challenges, I understand. However, I think I’ve gotten the major ones. The rest is doable, as far as I’m concerned. Send questions and comments and see if I can’t handle answering them. Even with more administration to determine loan forgiveness, it’s just a little math and paperwork, people! Stop this foolishness of entitled automatic loan forgiveness across the board. Make the students work for their prize! That experience alone will be worth far more than any amount on a loan that can be forgiven!

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