• Rick Laib

The Error of Loan Forgiveness

Friends, I have wonderful news!

Well, not wonderful for you, but I’ll get to that.

The Herald-News has reported that Bill Foster, Representative of the 11th Congressional District, has introduced legislation expanding the types of college loans that will be eligible for loan forgiveness.  The Public Service Loan Program has been around for several years; however, many have (reportedly) had difficulty taking advantage of the program.  These difficulties will potentially be resolved by way of this new legislation that Foster is proposing.


This is exactly what it sounds like.  Individuals who work in public service and have acquired college debt will be forgiven of their debt so long as they meet some employment requirements.  Foster’s bill simply expands the types of loans that would be eligible.  


This, as I say, is wonderful news.  But not for you.  Whom for then?  

For me.  You see, I am a “qualifying public service employee” who paid off his undergraduate degree.  I saved, I sacrificed, and I paid that tuition bill.  Every penny.

“Sorry for you, Rick Laib,” you may say.  “Loan Forgiveness plans are for existing loans, not loans that have been paid.”  But friends, if the federal government is willing to open its collective wallet to pay my loans, surely they wouldn’t mind reimbursing me for that amount.  Right?

This may sound obnoxious to you, and it should.  But the government is drumming up these funds anyway.  What difference does it make if they pay it or I do?  “But it makes no sense that the taxpayer would pay your college bills!” you might say.  “We didn’t even read the books!” 


And as soon as you articulate that thought, you should see the problem since that’s exactly what is happening.  If there is insufficient reason to reimburse me for my schooling, there is insufficient reason to pay off the debt.  The term “loan forgiveness” is misleading.  When we say loans are “forgiven,” what in essence is happening is the debt burden is moving from the individual who initiated the debt to the U.S. taxpayer (schooled individuals or not).  They should be called “loan assumption” programs since the loan does not disappear; it still must be accounted for.  Regardless, I see no reason why taxpayers should be forced to assume this debt.  

No college needed to understand that.  

Rick Laib is a Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District in Illinois. He can be reached at

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