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Does relieving college debt add up? A UNLV economics professor looks at the numbers

Average household debt tops $90,000
Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-26 15:10:43-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There is a lot of talk about free college tuition and wiping out student loan debt, especially after Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Monday that he wants to erase more than $1 trillion in student loan debt.

Presidential hopefuls like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are just two of many that have proposed plans to tackle those issues.

13 Action News went to UNLV to ask students and faculty what would happen if student loans were canceled.

Even though the summer semester at UNLV is a bit quiet on campus, you don't have to search very hard to find a student interested in free education.

RELATED: Student loan debt plagues 45 million Americans. These are the cities where people owe the most

UNLV student Adrina Ghafoori says she believes free education should be obtainable in the U.S.

"Yeah, I think there should be a change in this country towards more opportunity for education, higher education,” says Ghafoori

"If they get their loans back I don't see a problem with that," says UNLV student Ansin Mostoles.

But UNLV economics professor Dr. Stephen Miller says the numbers do not add up.

"Who is going to pay for the lost revenue?" asks Miller.

"Where's the extra money going to come from? Is it going to come from the state government?"

Miller says the suggested plans do not include current students that are racking up debt right now.

He questions the amount that will be paid off since most loans, after six months, gain interest.

"What's the payoff on these loans? It's just not the face value debt but there's also some interest that has to be paid as well," says Miller.

Wallet Hub reports students from Henderson end up owing the most in student loans. The average debt is nearly $20,000.

Students in Las Vegas owe approximately $17,000, according to the report.

Miller says the plans presented by politicians need a lot of work.

"It requires we raise taxes on somebody and it's difficult in congress to get higher taxes through," says Miller.

But as for students, hope remains.

"It’s something we should dedicate our focus to," says Ghafoori.

Calculate your monthly student-loan payment and the time it would take to pay off your debt through Wallet Hub's Student Loan Calculator.