Students weigh in on Biden’s loan forgiveness program

Samira Felix
Staff Writer 

University of La Verne students were happy to hear about President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan announced late last month.

In an informal survey on campus, 14 of 14 students interviewed said the president’s plan to forgive between $10,000 and $20,000 of student debt announced on Aug.  24 comes as a relief. 

Biden’s student loan relief plan is designed to allow borrowers to continue to recover from the financial strains brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it’s about time that we have student loan forgiveness especially after COVID,” said Jada Newkirk, clinical psychology graduate student. “People are realizing now that economic stressors are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.” 

The relief is a three-part plan that would cancel $10,000 of student debt for low to middle-income borrowers. Pell grant recipients would receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. 

Loans disbursed by June 30 of this year qualify for this relief. 

Borrowers are eligible for this relief if they have federal student loans and their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for married couples. Current students are also eligible for the relief. Borrowers who are dependents will also be eligible and it will be based on their parents’ income. 

Delilah Garcia, junior anthropology major, said she supports the plan because it makes college more accessible to people who do not have financial stability. 

“I come from a low income family and without financial aid, I wouldn’t have been able to come to college,” Garcia said. 

According to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System of the National Center for Education Statistics, and their report of the University of La Verne’s student financial aid for 2019-20, 63% of undergraduate students receive federal student loans and 47% receive Pell grants at the University of La Verne. 

Laura Evans, ULV’s director of financial aid, said she is happy that borrowers are receiving the relief, but she believes that there should be a longer term relief for people to be able to engage in higher education without needing too much debt.

“Quite a number of folks graduate college with $30,000 or more in student debt,” Evans said. “That makes it very difficult for them to repay their debt, so ensuring that there’s a longer term incentive for folks to continue engaging in higher education and to be able to repay those debts successfully is very important and it should not be a one-time relief.” 

A part of Biden’s three-part plan is to protect future students by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable if they raise the cost of attendance. 

“Any kind of relief is beneficial especially for low income people,” Newkirk said. “Having that forgiveness is going to help propel a lot of people in the future in getting an education.” 

The final part of Biden’s three-part plan is to make the loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers by cutting monthly payments in half for undergraduate loans and fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Crystal Malagon, clinical psychology graduate student, said she supports the plan but wishes people would understand that a degree does not automatically grant people a job. 

“A lot of these people who have a degree end up working at a fast food chain or retail, not that it’s a bad thing, but they don’t go into what they want to do, which makes it hard for them to pay off their debt,” Malagon said. 

Information on how to claim this relief will be announced in the coming weeks. 

For more information on Biden’s three-part plan, visit studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement.

Samira Felix can be reached at samira.felix@laverne.edu.

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Samira Felix, a junior journalism major with a concentration in print-online journalism, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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