Students are returning to college campuses just days after President Joe Biden announced a student loan forgiveness program for federal loans. Some students at SUNY’s Plattsburgh campus say they don’t know much about the program. But those who know the plan are divided.
As President Biden announced a student debt relief plan, he said he was fulfilling a promise made during his campaign.
“We will cancel $10,000 in outstanding federal student loans. Additionally, students from low-income families who qualified them to receive a Pell grant will have their debt reduced by $20,000. These two targeted actions are intended for families earning less than $125,000 per year. You earn more than that, you don’t qualify.
At the State University of New York at Plattsburgh on Friday, a number of students said they didn’t know enough about the program to talk about it.
“I don’t know much about it… Yeah… I don’t know much about it.”
Those with some familiarity with the plan were divided.
In Angell College Center’s Cardinal Lounge, students studied, chatted or waited for their food orders from the adjacent Tim Horton’s. Education graduate student Kelsey Denton says that while the program could potentially help her, she doesn’t agree with the idea.
“I’m a student with lots of loans and I sincerely believe it’s my responsibility to pay them back. I know nothing is free. I know other people would pay my loans somehow. another if that happened and I don’t necessarily agree with that. Do I wish tuition was cheaper? Of course I do, but it’s not and it’s not. this is the decision i made and i know that if i get loan forgiveness others will pay for it whether it is through taxes we will pay it one way or another .
Freshman Kaitlyn, who was reluctant to give her last name, also fears the loan forgiveness scheme will raise taxes and calls the idea frustrating.
“I chose a college based on what would be affordable for me. If I work all summer next summer, I should be able to not take a loan next year. I think as a students, we should have to choose a college based on what we can afford, not that we can afford a college because it’s outrageous.
Speaking near the library, psychology junior Brighton Daniger plans to look into the program.
“I know there’s like the low that’s like $10,000 and then there’s the $20,000 one and there are certain requirements that have to be met to access both. I think that’s a good idea. It will help me a lot and it will mean a lot because anything that comes out of my pocket hurts me a little more. I will apply if I can, but I don’t know when.
Outside of College Center Economics, Spencer Savage says he’s covered by New York’s Excelsior program and has no college debt.
“I don’t have the burden of debt when I graduate, so I feel like I have more freedom, I don’t know, just to kind of live my life.”
“How do you think,” asks Pat Bradley, “this is going to affect your career choices and everything when you get out of college?”
“It’ll take the pressure off me of having to find a job right away, so I have to start paying back, you know,” Savage replies. “Because if I had the debt, I would have to start paying off my loans pretty quickly. So that gives me time to plan and find the right job for me after I graduate.”
President Biden also announced that the pandemic pause in student loan payments will end on December 31.