March 29, 2020

Student Debt: Different Ways Jewish Youth are Fighting Debt

Life for regular Americans is getting harder due to student debt. At the moment, the average household has 828 percent more student loan debt than families in 1999. This is no surprise since many colleges and universities are becoming increasingly expensive.

Years ago, many parents could afford tuition fees, but that is no longer the case. This plight is affecting several communities, including Jewish communities. This is the reason today’s youths are trying to find solutions to this problem.

Giving and Being Forgiven


Dealing with this crisis is not going to be easy since there is no simple solution. One group of students may be in luck because the US offers a program that forgives the debt of those who help others.

The PSLF program was designed to help those who work for non-profit organizations, but that did not include religious organizations. Thankfully, many clergy members and other religious leaders believed that students who wanted to offer their social service to religious organizations should also be eligible for this program. Now, it is open to qualified religious organizations.

Granted, this program only affects a small group of students, but it is one way to tackle this growing problem in many communities.

A Different Type of Loan


Those who read Holy texts know that there is something wrong with collecting interest from members of one’s own religion. Everyone knows that one reason students are suffering from mounting debt deals with high-interest rates.

Students looking for a loan are starting to see other types of institutions springing up. These companies loan money without charging interest. The institutions do not believe that those who want to go to college should be punished for educating themselves.

Hopefully, institutions like the Jewish Free Loan Association is just one of many who see the importance of lending without interest. They expect individuals to be honorable and payback.

Squash the Debt


Okay, some of these solutions are great, but they do not help students who are drowning in debt. It is very hard to start a business or take steps towards investing in a house or property with a ton of debt looming over one’s head. This crisis is definitely stifling growth within Jewish communities and others around the country.

Economists are worried about the way this is going to affect American lives in the long run. The debt is affecting millennials, whose population is now greater than the baby boomer generation. Different sectors of the economy might suffer because the younger generation only has money to pay debts and basic necessities.

Some students are finding relief with debt consolidation agencies, which is seeing some success. Granted, no two consolidation agencies are the same, so students must read reviews and compare policies before choosing one, but these consolidators are definitely helpful. Students do not have to worry about paying several entities at the different times but rather one single bill.

These agencies help negotiate a deal to ensure that the student pays less, which is probably music to many students’ ears. This solution does not wipe away debt, but it does help lessen the burden just a bit.

Hopefully, Jewish communities continue to find more inventive ways to help deal with this on-going crisis.

Some youths are becoming actively involved in politics and attempting to get the US government to understand the plight of today’s students. Some of these young activists are pushing for student loan debt forgiveness while others want higher education to simply be free for everyone since they feel education is a right.

Who knows how this issue is going to resolve itself, but it is obvious that many within the Jewish community are not wasting time in taking productive steps.