Why student loan forgiveness is bad?

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Student loan forgiveness has been a hot topic of debate in recent years, with proponents arguing that it can alleviate the burden of student debt and stimulate economic growth. However, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and unintended consequences of widespread student loan forgiveness. While the idea may seem appealing on the surface, a closer examination reveals several reasons why student loan forgiveness can be detrimental to both individuals and the broader economy.

Increased Moral Hazard

Moral hazard: Moral hazard refers to the tendency for individuals to take on more risk when they are insulated from the consequences of their actions. Student loan forgiveness can create a moral hazard by sending the message that individuals are not responsible for repaying their debts. This can lead to a culture of irresponsibility, where students are more likely to take on excessive debt without considering the long-term consequences.

Unfair to Those Who Repaid

Unfairness: Student loan forgiveness can be seen as unfair to those who have already repaid their loans or made significant progress in doing so. These individuals may have made sacrifices and lived frugally to meet their obligations, only to see others receive forgiveness without having to make similar efforts. This can breed resentment and discourage responsible financial behavior in the future.

Distorted Incentives

Incentives: Student loan forgiveness can create distorted incentives within the education system. If students know that their loans will be forgiven, they may be more likely to pursue higher-cost education options without considering the value of the degree or their ability to repay the debt. This can lead to an increase in tuition costs and a mismatch between the skills students acquire and the needs of the job market.

Impact on Taxpayers

Taxpayers: Student loan forgiveness ultimately falls on the shoulders of taxpayers. The cost of forgiving student loans can be substantial, and it is important to consider the opportunity cost of redirecting those funds from other important areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, or education. Additionally, forgiving student loans may not effectively target those who are most in need, as it benefits individuals across all income levels.

Market Disruption

Market: Widespread student loan forgiveness can disrupt the functioning of the student loan market. Lenders may become more cautious in extending loans, leading to decreased access to credit for future students. This can have unintended consequences, such as limiting educational opportunities for those who rely on student loans to finance their education. Furthermore, the forgiveness of existing loans can negatively impact the financial health of lenders and investors who hold these loans as assets.


While the idea of student loan forgiveness may seem appealing, it is important to consider the potential negative consequences. Increased moral hazard, unfairness to those who have already repaid, distorted incentives, the burden on taxpayers, and market disruption are all valid concerns. Instead of blanket forgiveness, it may be more effective to focus on targeted solutions that address the root causes of high student debt, such as improving financial literacy, promoting income-driven repayment plans, and reducing the cost of education.


1. Federal Reserve Bank of New York: https://www.newyorkfed.org/
2. The Brookings Institution: https://www.brookings.edu/
3. Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/