No, billionaires aren't the problem with student loans

Billionaires and students. Those are the only two possible groups that can pay for the nation’s massive student loan debt according to Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“This one really does boil down to three words: billionaires or students? Which way is this country going? Which way do our values go on this?” Warren said in front of hundreds of students yesterday during the Generation Progress conference in Washington D.C.

Warren’s rally cry resonated with the young liberal audience in attendance who responded to her ultimatum with thunderous applause. Nearly every speaker at the event addressed student loan debt, and they all gave the same solution—a witch hunt against the evil millionaires and billionaires in the nation to start paying their fair share for students’ college.

During a break-out session entitled “Taking Action on College Affordability," a recently graduated panelist spoke on how to fight against the bourgeois for their tuition money. After lamenting his loan debt and the “Wall Street corporatization” of universities, he demanded that billionaires help subsidize his education because “[t]hey started a problem and they can afford to fix it.”

While the panelist never explained exactly how this was the billionaires’ fault, he insisted some CEO must fork over tuition payments on the fancy private college he attended to study sociology.

It is this entitlement that shocked me while covering the conference for Campus Reform. As a junior at Arizona State University, I am no stranger to the costs of a college education. I was once an eager-eyed high school senior and dreamed of attending school out-of state; but after looking at the price tag, I decided that ASU would be a better return on my investment.

Why is it that a young adult must have a good credit history before purchasing a car, but must show nothing before signing on the dotted line and consigning themselves to thousands in student loan debt?

It’s illogical for progressives such as Warren to frame the issue so that the only solution is for the government to step in and hike taxes on job creators. The progressive left in America were the ones pushing to nationalize our student loan system. After the interest rate was cut in 2007, the demand for attending a university artificially increased, incentivizing poor financial decisions, while continuously increasing the costs.

But the good news is, we don’t have just two options—there’s a far better solution. While government intervention in educational loans is failing students, the private sector is working at a much faster and efficient pace. Just look at how Starbucks is working with my alma mater.

Campus Reform previously reported that the coffee chain is offering discounted and reimbursed tuition for ASU’s online program. It is truly a win-win situation; not only will employers gain a productive and educated workforce, but employees will gain work experience and a college degree. It is expected that this program will attract 15,000 to 20,000 young people. Could you imagine what could happen if other businesses follow this lead? The number of students who could graduate debt-free?

It’s not just two choices, Senator Warren—it’s choices by innovative people in the market making higher education in the country far more accessible than any program in Washington ever could.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @LaurenLouClark