MSU Texas students react to loan forgiveness plan

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 3:17 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - One in five Americans have a student loan and according to The Washington Post, around 38% of those owe $100,000 or more.

President Joe Biden is erasing $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those with incomes below $125,000 a year, or households that earn less than $250,000. Biden is also canceling an additional $10,000 for those who received federal Pell Grants to attend college.

Educators said while this may help many, it is a band-aid to a larger problem.

“Since 1980 the price of an average college tuition has tripled,” Dr. Steve Garrison, Midwestern State University political science professor, said. “Pell grants have basically remained the same, wages, the cost of living.”

There are around 45 million people with federal student loans, according to The Washington Post. The average student loan debt in the early 90s was around $9,000, but now it is over $30,000.

“My first semester, I started with the University of Kansas in 1989 and my tuition bill was like $536,” Garrison said. “I think it is in the neighborhood of $15,000 now.”

Incoming college students know how expensive it is to go to college, but for some, their only choice is to take out student loans.

“I get through college by accepting student loans,” DaViane Lowe, MSU Texas student, said. “I have already accepted my fate for that. I am already working, trying to take care of myself as a broke college student. You have to kind of commit to that process.”

“Because I am under 25, my student loans are based off of my parents’ income, but when you fall into that middle class, it is like you don’t get enough to cover everything but your parents also can’t help you out,” Madison Mullen, MSU Texas student, said. “So, you kind of have to work like two jobs to support yourself.”

The recent plan from Biden to assist families with student loans has a big impact on the ones who qualify.

“Not only me but also my family because in order for me to have college, my parents have to take out parent loans,” Mullen said. “That is as stressful for them as it is for me to do that. So, it would be very beneficial and would knock off so much.”

Some don’t meet the qualification of an income of less than $125,000 so they have to take a different approach.

“I really want to hurry up and finish college so I can make some real money and not be a broke college student anymore,” Lowe said. “Then, I could begin that process to knock off some of my debt.”

There has been some concern raised about Biden’s plan, saying it could fuel the fire of inflation.

“Putting more money into somebody’s pocket so when people have more money they spend it and when you buy more stuff it will drive up the price, whether it is gas or whatever it might be,” Garrison said. “Increases to demand usually drives the price up.”

Garrison said changes need to be made for higher education because with the way the trend has been going, it will only get worse for future students.

“As a whole, Americans need to decide how we are going to fund higher education,” Garrison said. “It is not efficient to put it all on the individual.”

While the recent plan from Biden is beneficial to many, the question still remains on what will be done for the long term and what impact this decision will have on future conversations regarding student loan debt.

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