By Riley Dauber
On August 24, President Joseph Biden announced the first step in his student loan forgiveness plan.
While running for office, the current president promised that he would work on “student debt relief” if elected, according to a White House fact sheet.
Now, “individual borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year and married couples or heads of households who make less than $250,000 annually will see up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven,” according to CNN.
The current student loan forgiveness plan will help current graduates pay off their federally owned student loans by providing up to $10,000 in compensation. For students who borrowed Pell Grants, they will receive up to $20,000 to use towards paying off those awards.
“Since I do receive a Pell Grant, the 20K should pay off most if not all of my debt,” senior Armani Banks said.
Although President Biden’s announcement comes as a celebration to many graduates and undergraduates, confusion still abounds. Even if information about the loan forgiveness is accessible online, many students wonder how the plan will affect them specifically.
“I’m still confused on how it’s actually going to work for us as college students,” senior Kashmira Brown-Rochester said. “But so far I’m open-minded that there’s an actual leader in office that is having this loan forgiveness plan because other presidents or former presidents have said ‘student loan forgiveness,’ but they don’t actually say what they did.”
It would be helpful if WC, or even the financial aid officers who are assigned to help students manage their expenses, would provide students with information regarding this announcement. Students would then possess a better understanding of if they apply and when they will receive loan forgiveness.
Despite the confusion, most students struggling to pay off their student loans are thankful that there is a proposed plan.
“[WC] doesn’t get a lot of federal funding, so I think if there’s a student loan forgiveness here at the school, it will help so much because I’ve had friends, including myself, that [have] a lot of debt,” Brown-Rochester said. “So in order for that to be established, it kind of relieves a burden off of us.”
As for Banks, she hopes the student loan forgiveness plan will become more transparent moving forward.
“I think they need to be more organized with how it’s going to work,” she said. “I’ve seen that…you’re gonna have to fill out an application, and then the application will be processed. But then I’ve also been seeing where people have been saying it’s like an automatic thing.”
As President Biden works to relieve student debt, many hope that he will help target students who are currently still in school.
“Hopefully the next step is [to] get as much money off of us as undergrad students. Just release that burden because it’s already a struggle,” Brown-Rochester said. “People ask me ‘what do you want to do after college,’ and then you gotta find a job and apartment and all this stuff. It’s just one less burden.”
Moving forward, President Biden is hoping to “make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers” and “protect future students and taxpayers by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable when they hike up prices,” according to a White House fact sheet.
The steps sound good on paper; it’s just a matter of whether or not they will happen and actually help students pay off student debt.
Despite initial concerns, it’s promising to see action being taken to help college become more accessible to students, regardless of their class.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo Caption: President Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan will help people pay off their student debt by providing up to $10,000 for lower-income graduates, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.