No, Not Everyone In America Can Go To College And, Yes, Student Loan Forgiveness is Critical

Andy Ostroy
2 min readAug 31, 2022

I once had a fairly heated debate with a friend who grew up in one of the most affluent, exclusive enclaves of Long Island. It started when he said, “Anyone in this country can go to college, no matter how poor they are. There are no excuses.”

That was surely easy for him to say as someone who was born into privilege. Born into a family of college graduates. Someone who was exposed to the ideal of higher-education from early childhood. Someone whose high school classmates obsessed not over whether they will go to college, or what college they’ll go to…but more so, which Ivy League colleges they’ll be applying to and hope to attend. In short, their socio-economic advantages guaranteed whatever path they chose.

But that’s precisely the problem with those who are privileged: they don’t believe they’re privileged. Because that’s all they know. They believe we’re all competing on a level playing field, no matter what good or bad fortune we’re born into. Worse, they grow up thinking they’re ‘self made’. It’s the old adage, ‘born on 3rd base and think you hit a triple’.

In many ways they lack compassion, empathy and an understanding of, and appreciation for, what it’s like to grow up poor, afraid and discouraged from loftier personal goals by their socio-economic influences and pressures.

I said to my friend then, “Imagine a kid in a low-income urban area that’s overrun by drugs, gangs and crime. Where rejecting all that to pursue higher education…walking home with an armful of school books…could get you seriously hurt or even killed. Or in economically-ravaged rural areas where the hope and focus is to get one of the few manufacturing jobs that still exist. Where there’s no talk of ‘college’ at the dinner table. Don’t tell me we all have the same opportunity to go to college”.

So the government forgiving $10,000 student loans is just another thing the elitists can’t understand or appreciate. Because they grow up in a world of trust funds, 529 college savings accounts and zero concern for how tuition will be paid. Because they’re not paying for it. Their parents are. They’re not going to be saddled with massive debt for many years after graduation. They start life with a clean, and yes, privileged slate.

The moral of this story is this: those who don’t need help should take a moment to understand that many others do. It’s truly that simple…

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Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers