The status of student debt relief
Ali Fernand – Features Editor
Financial relief is on the way for some college students. Between COVID-19 and college prices rising, students are going to be offered the opportunity to get up to $20,000 in federal debt forgiven.
“There is a student debt crisis, so there are more and more students taking out more and more loans to afford college,” President of Student Government Association Kyle Thaxton said.
Students in Connecticut are seeing the price of tuition rise every year. The state government has been paying the state schools less and less. To make up for this, the institutions have raised the price for students attending. There are other needs besides tuition like textbooks, fees and the rising cost of living. Those who are unable to room and board might feel left out of the college experience.
President Joe Biden’s plan is to forgive those who owe loans to the federal government. Students who have loans from private vendors cannot receive federal forgiveness.
“For students, it’s up to $20,000 if you have federal loans and a Pell Grant. It’s up to $10,000 for students with federal loans and no Pell grant,” Director of Financial Literacy and Advising Lew Deluca said.
These parameters allow relief for the people who need it the most. The students who receive the Pell Grant are in more financial need, so they can receive more money. Those who are not on the Pell Grant can receive up to $10,000 if they have a single parent that makes under $125,000 or married parents that make a joint income of under $250,000.
The debt being forgiven also needs to be from debt that students currently have. New students and those who will be attending school in the future will not be able to apply for forgiveness as of now.
There have been a few pieces of legislation already passed regarding student debt. Loan repayment and interests were paused in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“Normally what would have been happening up to the pandemic is your unsubsidized loans would have been adding interest,” said Deluca.
Those who were experiencing financial struggles during the pandemic were able to hold off paying their loans. This included those who were in school and those who were no longer in school. There was no application required; payments were frozen automatically.
“I think a big reason he passed the bill was because it is something that the American people needed,” Vice President of Student Democrats Nate Gross said.
Many members of the Democratic party have been paying attention to the progress of the agenda Biden originally set while campaigning in 2020. The midterm election is approaching this November. This has made the success of Biden’s agenda a topic of conversation.
“I know there’s been a lot of pressure on him to pass a bill like that from the Democratic Party,” Gross said.
Democrats who lean more left have been putting pressure on Biden to keep his promise. They are looking for a bill like that to be passed to help their election efforts. President Biden’s debt relief bill has created controversy, creating a range of opinions.
“Some people are satisfied with it, some aren’t, some think it’s a bad idea,” Thaxton said.
Those who are to the right believe that their tax money should not be used to pay for another person’s debt. These people believe that this bill is unconstitutional and unfair to those whose families make too much to qualify for debt relief.
According to Politico as of Nov. 10, a federal judge in Texas is challenging the bill. This puts it at risk of being completely thrown out. The way this bill is challenged or passed in other courts of law could change the trajectory of students and voters.
“I think it will give a lot of optimism and hopefully get more students involved in politics,” Gross said.