For all of the controversy over Biden’s decision, though, there’s one thing all sides agree upon: Erasing student loans balances won’t do anything to address the rising costs of higher education that caused all of that debt to pile up in the first place.
Over the past several decades the cost of attending college in the U.S. has skyrocketed. At the same time, average wages have stagnated, causing more and more students — and their families — to take on hefty loan balances in order to afford an education. In 1995, Americans held a total of $187 billion in federal student loan debt. By this year, that number had ballooned to $1.6 trillion. Today, the typical undergraduate student has about $25,000 in loan debt by the time they graduate, according to the Department of Education.