For the publisher:

D “Is this where we are, America?», By Roxane Gay (Op-Ed, 23 November):

I’m a retired lawyer who spent hours reading federal student loan regulations to understand how and why my 10-year-old daughters’ student loan obligations far exceeded the amounts they borrowed. The short answer was interest, interest, interest.

Lenders have been allowed to charge rates that far exceed national standards and can be increased by loan consolidations. Forgiveness programs are a broken promise for many due to details that few students understand.

Perhaps the answer to those who oppose total student loan relief is that the government only pays interest. The pupil would remain responsible for the principal. At the same time, more effort needs to be made to educate borrowers before they take out a loan about the long-term tax consequences.

Meg kieran
Eugene, Ore.

For the publisher:

Even though I attended a public university I had a full scholarship for tuition and tuition fees, worked and had subsidized housing through my church, I still needed a federal student loan to pay for my undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois.

I thought about giving up the loan, but decided it would be a bad idea. I didn’t go to graduate school because I could never justify getting another degree while I was still paying for my first. After working for 10 years, I paid off the loan.

When my two children went to private colleges, my husband and I paid for their education in full, prioritizing our own retirement, so that neither of the two children was burdened with debt after getting out. his diploma.

Despite this story, I completely agree with Roxane Gay. Forgive student loans. Let us help to unload the young; they already face a world with enough serious problems. Affirm our social contract.

We are all in there.

Susan E. Anderson

For the publisher:

Contrary to Roxane Gay’s theory of why people oppose student debt cancellation, my reluctance to do so has nothing to do with wanting other people to suffer. It’s just that I don’t believe we should protect people from the consequences of their own decisions.

If I buy a house that I can’t afford, no one will step in and pay the mortgage for me.

However, I believe that student loan programs could be better structured to ease the burden on students and better inform them of the reality of the obligations they assume.

I’m sympathetic to those with crushing debts, but that’s not something that has happened to them. They bought into it and should have taken the time to think about what it meant.

Debra H. Frantz

For the publisher:

Canceling Loans Would Not Address Roots of Student Debt Crisis(The Upshot, November 21) is a great recap of why we need to do more to solve the student loan debt problem than just cancel some loans.

Another suggestion is that Congress expand and improve national service programs like AmeriCorps. Have a system that will allow students to do full-time public service for a year to earn enough money to pay for state college tuition for a year.

It’s a victory for everyone: students have the chance to do meaningful work and engage in a common cause, and the country receives help to address unmet needs.

Catherine H. Milton
Menlo Park, California
The writer, a former executive director of the Commission on National and Community Service, helped develop AmeriCorps.