July 23, 2024

Can my student loans be taken away if I protest at the university against the war in Gaza?

College students in different parts of the United States have been protesting the war in Gaza, holding demonstrations and encampments on campus to demand a ceasefire and an end to investments in companies linked to Israel.

In some universities, like Columbia in New York, the police have been called in to remove protesters from the premises. Multiple confrontations have turned violent, and a number have led to arrests.

Some of the educational institutions have respected the students’ right to free speech, and have allowed the encampments and demonstrations as long as they do not turn violent and do not hamper school operations.

READ ALSO: Israel-Hamas war protests grow across the US

Can my student loans be taken away if I protest at the university against the war in Gaza?

As the end of the semester draws closer, questions are raised as to whether students who participate in the protests will be penalized. One aspect of this is how, if ever, the funding for their education could be affected.

Student loans in the country are owned by either the federal government or financial institutions such as third-party loan servicing companies.

For the moment, students have not been threatened with any repercussions on their educational loans if they join the anti-war protests. However, depending on their actions, they could be punished in various ways such as criminal prosecution, suspension, or expulsion.

READ ALSO: Brutal attacks break out at UCLA pro-Palestine encampment

Student loan forgiveness

Although there is no official word on revoking student loans for protesters, conservatives have been speaking out on social media about how those involved in the demonstrations should not be given debt relief in the future.

User @amuse on X proposes that a student protester who is arrested should be required to pay student loans in full in the future.

Some quarters believe such calls are hasty. Speaking to Newsweek, University of Tennessee finance instructor Alex Beene says that bringing up this topic on social media could just be a matter of politicking. He says it is difficult to determine the financial situation of the protesting students, some of whom may have already fully paid for their education.

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