Best and worst from this week’s headlines

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT. proposed a bill Monday that would forgive an estimated $1.6 trillion in student debt.

While many students and alumni celebrated the possibility of debt forgiveness this week, student athletes around the country were stunned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s announcement that student athletes seeking compensation might not be able to compete in NCAA championships.

Here’s the best and worst from this week’s headlines:

Thumbs Up:

GW is one of the most expensive universities in the country, leading about 30 percent of students to take out loans. Students often worry about paying their debts after graduation, and alumni at universities across the country are burdened by the paychecks they give back to GW long after leaving Foggy Bottom.

But the student loan crisis goes further than the District. The average college student graduates with $30,000 in debt and there is about $1.6 trillion in outstanding debt among current and former students.

Sanders’ proposal would wipe out the $1.6 trillion in outstanding debt by canceling all federal government student loans. The cost of attending college has skyrocketed across the country, including GW. Holding a college degree has become a prerequisite for most high-paying jobs, meaning that students are forced to take out large loans they may struggle to pay back.

Students and alumni should wholeheartedly support Sanders’ plan because it would directly help any student who has taken out loans.

Eliminating student debt would improve the lives of millions of Americans, including many GW students and alumni. It would cut one of the largest financial obstacles that prevent graduates from starting a family, purchasing their first home or pursuing their dream career. Everyone who does not want finances to block education should back Sanders’ proposal.

Thumbs Down:

NCAA rules prevent college athletes from earning money on their name or image, like selling jerseys with their signature or appearing in advertisements. A California bill would compensate student athletes in the state if their school generates more than $10 million, but the NCAA is against the legislation.

Allowing student athletes to be payed for their athletic contributions to their school is a step in the right direction. Student athletes earn millions in publicity for their universities, but the NCAA sells their media rights to events like March Madness and the College World Series for more money than most student athletes will ever see. California’s legislation brings to light a question of whether other student athletes should be paid, including GW’s. The answer is yes.

But the NCAA struck out harshly against California schools this week, threatening to ban the schools from participating in national championships if California passes and implements the bill. The NCAA claimed that compensation would give an unfair advantage to California schools that pay their student athletes.

But that should not stop state governments from making sure athletes are financially rewarded for their work. The District should carry on California’s call to pay student athletes to recognize the hard work student athletes at GW and other institutions give to their schools without a financial reward. Sure, some student athletes are sent to college on scholarship, but a paycheck would ensure universities show equal appreciation for every player.

California took a right forward and the NCAA gave the wrong reaction. The District should follow California’s lead in standing up for student athletes.

Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, a sophomore majoring in political science and psychology, is the Hatchet opinions editor.

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