McRae: The Best Way to Stop the Student Loan Crisis is to Avoid Student Loans
By Treasurer David McRae
On its closing week of session, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a major win to taxpayers, shutting down President Biden’s massive student loan forgiveness scheme that would have cost taxpayers more than $1.5 trillion.
Let me be clear: I understand a college education opens the door to incredible career opportunities and statistically increases one’s earning potential. That said, I don’t think an expensive four-year degree is necessary for upward mobility nor do I believe taxpayers (including those who didn’t attend college or have already paid off their loans) should be asked to foot the ever-growing bill. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what the Biden Administration asked of Americans.
While the Biden Administration’s so-called “solution” was misguided and unfair, the underlying problem is understood. Student loan debt, especially for those who pursued four-year or advanced degrees, can be immense for many people. In Mississippi, the average graduate is leaving college with a debt of more than $30,000. Something needs to be done, but I don’t believe a redistribution of wealth is the answer.
As State Treasurer, I help manage Mississippi’s college savings program. This allows families to take personal responsibility of their child’s college expenses. Our two programs are designed to fit budgets of any size.
MACS, for example, is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be opened for as little as $25. Moreover, the plans are very flexible and the funds can be applied to a wide variety of educational experiences – from apprenticeships to books to tuition, room and board.
The second option, MPACT, does require a bit more of a commitment than MACS’s $25 deposit, but if you can make it work, the benefits are incredible. With MPACT, families can lock in today’s tuition rates, protect themselves from future rate hikes, and pre-pay college altogether. That way, by the time your child graduates, you’ll already have paid your last bill.
As a conservative, I believe wholeheartedly in personal responsibility. We cannot ask taxpayers to pay for the decisions we make. That’s just not right. If anyone you love is likely to attend college (even if they’re still quite young), please visit treasury.ms.gov/collegesavings to learn more about the programs we offer. You can also visit treasury.ms.gov/financialeducation for tips and tools to help you save for large purchases, like a college degree.
College is expensive – and it’s getting more expensive as time goes on. But we must pivot away from policies that include handouts, payouts, or so-called “forgiveness.” Instead, we have a responsibility to move Americans toward achieving financial success and independence themselves. Investing in college savings plans while your child is young can really help mitigate expenses and keep you out of student loan debt. After all, the best way to stop the student loan crisis is to help families avoid educational debt in the first place.