‘It definitely helps’: VCU students, experts react to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

In an effort to keep campaign promises President Biden outlined a plan Wednesday to help nearly 20 million Americans living under a pile of student loan debt.
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - In an effort to keep campaign promises President Biden outlined a plan Wednesday to help nearly 20 million Americans living under a pile of student loan debt.

“I definitely don’t want to graduate with thousands of dollars in debt so hopefully Biden does like the actual right thing - for once - and really [give] people what they need,” Kamari, a Junior at VCU said.

Under the proposed plan, individuals earning $125,000 or less would be eligible for $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness.

$20,000 would be cleared for Pell Grant recipients.

“Most Americans are likely to have somewhere between that $30-$40,000 dollar range and about 1/3 of borrowers across the country, give or take, would have potentially their entire debt eliminated,” Jacob Channel, senior economist with Student Loan Hero said.

According to Student Loan Hero, 28.6% of Virginians have $10,000 or less in student debt meaning they could be free of student loans.

The historic announcement comes as Americans are struggling to make ends meet especially college students.

“I have a lot of friends who struggle with food insecurity and paying rent and stuff with inflation going up and also tuition is also going up. So it definitely makes the financial burden really stressful,” David Weeks, a senior at VCU said.

Weeks says he’ll likely graduate with $70,000 in student debt before heading off to grad school but believes Biden’s plan is a step.

“I’m definitely confident that it will definitely help somewhat. Anything is better than nothing,” Weeks said.

Experts warn if congress doesn’t act, the headache of student loans may never end.

“No matter how much debt you forgive. No matter how long you pause payments. If you don’t address the root of the problem - which is rapidly rising tuition costs - then you might never solve it,” Channel said.

Biden announced the pause on federal student loan payments will be extended through December 31, 2022.

He’s also proposing capping repayment of those loans at 5% of borrower’s monthly income.