The following is a slightly edited transcript of remarks made by Inez Feltscher Stepman during a News week podcast debate on student debt cancellation. You can listen to the podcast here:

I agree with Cody that student debt is, in fact, a crisis. With that $ 1.7 trillion, I agree that it is holding back the lives of our generation. For this reason, we do not reach the same milestones as our parents financially. But I think the cancellation of a student loan is, in fact, a band-aid because the underlying problem here is not student debt per se. It is the cost of the university. And unless we tackle the cost of college, which has been artificially inflated by federal lending policies for decades, and which has only been made worse by the fact that student loan debt has been supported by the government, we will not go very far.

A general view of the arches of the Main Quadrangle buildings on the Stanford University campus ahead of a college football game against the Oregon Ducks on October 2, 2021 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.
David Madison / Getty Images

We can go further, but college inflation and tuition inflation are so much higher than even healthcare – and we’re still talking about inflation, and how much of a squeeze on American families in the classroom. mean. The cost of university is actually a multiple of health care inflation, and all of these issues with how we value universities are what they actually produce, in terms of value, for their students. And also, value for society. I think all of these things deserve a recalculation and a new way of looking at it, but I don’t think student debt cancellation is the solution. In fact, I think it’s a big boon for universities to make their product “free” on the backs of two-thirds of Americans who don’t have a college degree.

Inez Feltscher Stepman is Senior Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum, as well as a member of the Claremont Institute Lincoln and a contributor to The Federalist.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.