Opinion: How about some transparency in federally-guaranteed student loans?

With what was promised to be the most transparent administration in history having turned out to be the most opaque, it would be nice if its successor made a genuine commitment to candor.

Lack of transparency helps make it possible for influence peddlers and advantage-seekers to collude amongst themselves to the detriment of taxpayers, who can't exercise oversight over what's been purposely hidden.

Whether or not the federal government should be guaranteeing student loans in the first place is one question, whether or not such meddling only serves to drive up the cost of tuition is another, and whether or not the federal government should now be offering debt forgiveness for a problem it helped to create is still another.

All three questions – and many more – should be addressed and answered, with appropriate corrections made. In the meantime, however, light needs to be shed on the debt forgiveness program, and efforts made to ensure that all debt holders are treated more or less equally – which is to say, fairly.

The taxpayers who made those loans possible also have a right to know whose debts are being forgiven, and on what terms. Maybe they're debt-free because they didn't assume unrealistic burdens, or maybe they have debts that aren't related to schooling and won't be forgiven because there's nothing to be gained politically from pandering to them. Regardless, they're now on the hook for someone else's debt and have the right to know whom they're subsidizing and how much.

“Federal programs that forgive student debt are generating outrage from borrowers who stand to get no relief after years of paying down debts,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Every borrower with a federal loan can apply to some version of the plans. But complicated rules and a lack of public awareness are leaving some borrowers much better off than others.”

Put all the information online. Let it all hang out. Then, maybe, we can address this problem fairly.

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