Gen Z, Gen A Don’t Care About Student Debt Forgiveness

The Bridge: Gen Z are turning up their noses at the Student Debt Forgiveness rollout. Why are these younger generations saying “IDGAF” to what seems like a no-brainer?

Free Money! 

Response to the recent White House announcement of $10,000 in student loan forgiveness (and twice that for Pell Grant recipients) has been noticeably varied. Wading through the comments of debt forgiveness megathreads is an emotional rollercoaster – it’s hard not to be happy for the millions of young people who will experience some relief under the predatory reign of increasing college tuition. Some users are tearing out their hair, lamenting the slow and torturous climb out of the debt hole, only to feel slapped in the face by this announcement.

Underneath it all is an alarming trend. Young or old, loan holders or not, political or non – nobody seems happy.

But…Free Money?

Getting a college degree today doesn’t mean the same thing as it did twenty or more years ago – average rates of interest and inflation have changed the game entirely. A family could survive on a single income, and university degrees were half the cost.

Now, Gen Z has a staggering 86% less purchasing power than Baby Boomers did when they were in their 20s (yes that number is real). Is it any wonder that Gen Z feels depressed? An injection of cash into an exorbitant student loan is little consolation when many of them can’t afford a home or feel forced to postpone starting a family.

The American Dream is shifting, but the value systems have been surprisingly constant. Young generations want stable income, a safe place to live, and a loving family. Instead they’re working the gig economy, or chained to desks just to keep ahead on rent payments. It’s obvious to many that something has to change – and that doesn’t mean a bandaid over the gushing wound of price increases, inflation, and wage increases that don’t keep pace with the rest of the economy (check out our Gen Z & Work Preferences Guide for more info).

It’s obviously a complicated issue that in all likelihood will be up to Millennials and Gen-Z to solve – the good news is that they already seem up to the challenge. The first Gen-Z candidate headed to congress is coming out of Florida. We’re likely to see an increase in younger voices in the political sphere, and as our girl Lizzo would say – it’s about damn time.

$hoomoney // freepik x L. Aguayo

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