12 13 OPENING LINES S tudent loan repayment is a hot discus- sion, with politicians like Mick Mulvaney talking about it being an issue of morality and borrowers struggling to stay afloat. Mulvaney and others may talk about how getting into trouble with student loan debt is a personal choice, but many borrowers, who are the ones struggling with the problem directly, understand that calling it a choice is downplaying the issue in a cruel way. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation service company that helps borrow- ers apply for federal repayment programs, says that discrediting different attempts to aid student loan borrowers likely does more harm than good. Especially to those borrowers who take their words to heart. It’s not uncommon for columnists to say that borrowers’ problems are their own fault; that they should have known better than to take out loans that they couldn’t handle and that it was their choice to go to an expensive college to obtain a degree that didn’t have high payouts in the end. Saying things like that, though, places a false higher value on educations like STEM-based ca- reers, because they pay more, and doesn’t account for the fact that most people don’t have several thousand to spend a semester, seeing as the average cost for a year of in-state schooling is over $9,000. Saying that dismisses the issue that other educa- tions are needed in society, as well, simply be- cause there’s a current trend to pay them better. AMERITECH FINANCIAL: PLACING BLAME DOESN’T HELP SOLVE A PROBLEM, ACTIONS DO, WHICH IS WHAT STUDENT LOANS NEED “Student loan repayment isn’t a clear-cut path for any borrower, even if some people like to say it’s straightforward,” said Tom Knickerbocker, Executive Vice President of Ameritech Financial. Also being completely ignored by those who say others should have known better is life’s habit of throwing pitfalls beneath people’s feet. Even if someone was on track to complete college with a high-paying job to handle their high amount of student loan debt, doesn’t mean it will happen. A sudden injury, school closure or any number of things could spring up and blindside a borrower. Telling employers that their attempt to help persuade potential employees to their doors by offering student loan repayment is a bad idea because it rewards bad behavior is like saying someone shouldn’t own a car if they can’t afford to replace it after a car accident. A car is necessary for many people to commute to and from work and to handle their daily needs, and telling someone they should have learned to just take a bus instead doesn’t factor in the likelihood that they had already thought of that but it didn’t work for them. Several generations now have grown up being told that a college education is necessary, but the prices for that necessity have skyrocketed. Yes, employers should be paying fair wages to their employees, but a problem can have multiple ways to solve it, rather than relying on one single solution.