studentdebt

The Federal Student Loan Debt Relief application opened on Oct. 17 and many students and alumni have found themselves filling out personal information in hopes of their student loan debts being canceled.

In August, the Biden administration announced its student loan forgiveness plan that could cancel up to $20,000 in debt for eligible current and graduated students. Those who make less than $125,000 per person a year could qualify for up to $10,000 forgiven and if a student received a Pell Grant, they could get up to $20,000 in student loan debt forgiven.

The application is simple to complete, the most important information needed is a person’s social security number, email and phone number.

Current students are happy about the new federal program, and former students have also taken advantage of it. Texas State alumna Breana Wentz said that she is ecstatic to be a part of this long-awaited relief.

“I am very excited,” Wentz said. “My student loans totaled at $54,000, and I was the first person in my family to go to school. I didn't have a lot of education on what accepting some of those loans meant and it's kept me from buying a home. It's kept me in very burdensome situations, so I think that it’s wonderful for my situation in general. I'm very excited and it gives us a lot more opportunity to move forward, financially.”

Wentz said loan forgiveness will also impact her in a positive way by reducing stress on her future financial situation. One of the ways it will help her future finances is for house buying. With the possible cancellation of some of her debt she can now look at approval for houses in different price ranges.

"Going through that is going to be [critical] to me being able to move forward. It also helps keep me out of credit card debt in general because now with that money I can put it towards other debts like my savings or just in general," Wentz said. "The change is going to be astronomical for me personally with what I can do with that $600 every month.”

As thrilled as Wentz is about the program, not everyone shares the same sentiment. Sami Haiker, a psychology sophomore, believes that the new forgiveness is unfair to those who have not taken out student loans.

“I feel like it is unfair to the people that do not have loans because of hard work and determination to not be in that situation,” Haiker said. “I think that by giving the people that did have loans a chance to get pretty much free college is a bit unfair to the people that have not decided to have loans.”

Haiker wants everyone to have equal opportunities, including if people decided to use their money toward school versus those who took out financial aid instead.

“I don't think they should only have people that had loans get aid. A lot of people have the same opportunity when it comes to working but chose to spend their money differently or not save as much," Haiker said. "I think that the people that have worked hard on saving have a distinct disadvantage when it comes to getting free access.”

The aid does not affect just students. Parents are also emotional about the news. Maggie Brown, parent of a freshman and alumnus at Texas State, said she is excited about the debt relief.

“I'm grateful if they apply for loan forgiveness and do hopefully receive it,” Brown said. “That would be a huge owe off us. I'm paying for everything myself right now and I'm working seven days a week to make sure to get [everything] paid and that there's extra money for any other fees that are incurred. So, I’m grateful because somebody's doing something.”

As much as Brown appreciates this new program for her children, there are still some thoughts of unfairness as well since she was once a college student in federal student loan debt.

“There is a huge part of me that does not agree. I'm 48 years old, I went to college, I have several subsequent degrees. I did them all on my own and there was no help back then," Brown said. "When I was there, we did it all ourselves. So, I'm not upset, but there has to be a quid pro quo.”

The student forgiveness program application is available for eligible borrowers through Dec. 31, 2023. Applicants can expect the program to start taking effect four to six weeks after submission, according to the Biden administration.

For more information and to view the Federal Student Loan Debt Relief application, visit https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application.

Journalism is an act of civic responsibility. We see our work as a public service that is necessary for a community to thrive because knowledge is empowering. If you enjoyed this story, please consider helping us "Defend the First Amendment" by donating today!

Load comments