Student debt and loans is something that continues to plague college students well after graduation, haunting their dreams and hindering their ambitions for life. For the nation’s leader, U.S. President Joe Biden, the student loan crisis needed to be handled.
This is why the Biden Administration announced Aug. 24 a three-part plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for low to middle income borrowers. According to the United States Department of Education, the cost of both four-year public and private colleges has nearly tripled even after accounting for inflation.
While many students do rely on financial assistance to help cover the costs such as the Pell Grant, they only cover about a third of the total costs, leaving many students feeling hopeless and drowning in debt.
In order to help combat this, especially for low and middle income families, Biden’s bill will offer up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness for federal school loans providing the borrower makes less than $125,000 a year. The same applies for married with joint income borrowers that make less than $250,000.
As for recipients of financial assistance like the Pell Grant, which are designed for people with exceptional financial need, an additional $10,000 can be canceled.
How it applies to LCCC
But what does this mean for students at Lorain County Community College? Well according to financial services, it still applies.
Applicants must fill out an application to see if they qualify for forgiveness and if they do, the loan or debt is wiped from their record. This will prevent holds on their account and allow them to continue their education, giving many scholars a greater chance to succeed.
According to the White House there are currently over 43 million federal student loan borrowers including those in community college.
Only about 8 million will automatically have their debt canceled because the department of Education has their income information. This makes it crucial for borrowers to fill out the applications, which open the second week of October.
Still everything comes with a price. The loan forgiveness act will cost the federal government roughly $400 billion over the next 30 years adding to the country’s growing deficit. The act will also cost the average $100,000 taxpayer roughly $1,500 a year.
Covering the costs
But for LCCC students the pros tend to outweigh the cons. Many students at the college fall under the requirements for debt forgiveness and with many more heading onto furthering education at four year universities, the debt can pile up quickly.
In the case of Pre-med student Ethan Kocak, student debt has always been a worry. “Coming from a family where I didn’t get a lot of assistance for my education, right now I am looking at either going into the Air Force or getting a high score on my exams to qualify for scholarships in order to pay for school and try and avoid debt.”
Even by doing the University Partnership program offered at LCCC, Kocak still says the cost came at a hefty $50,000 price tag and that’s just on the lower spectrum of costs. “Med school is insanely expensive and any help with the debt definitely helps,” he says. “This bill would be very helpful for me especially.” Kocak is a recipient of the Pell Grant and says knowing that because of that alone some of his debt can be resolved is very uplifting for him.
The looming dangers of student debt also can often discourage students from attending college altogether. Lorain County Early College High School senior Katie Sowards admits that she’s skeptical of continuing education into an undergrad degree because of the debt that comes with it.
“I know that college is really beneficial but I’m not sure the pros outweigh the costs,” she says. “I feel like this bill would be especially beneficial to students like me who don’t have to worry about it and instead can get their degrees.”
And LCCC Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Services, Marisa Vernon-White, agrees.
“In July 2022, the U.S. Department of Education recognized LCCC as among the top 10% most affordable colleges in the country,” she says. “We also work closely with students to identify other resources outside of student loans that are available to help with tuition, such as scholarships, grants, and other aid.”
Still despite this, there are students at LCCC that will benefit from the act and continue the education processes at the college.
Students applying for the relief must do so by Nov. 15 in order to receive debt cancellation by the time the debt payment pause expires which has been in effect since the beginning of Covid-19. From there the pause will expire on Dec. 31, 2022 and interest will begin accruing again on borrowers remaining balances.
The final deadline to apply for student loan forgiveness is Dec. 31, 2023. According to the Department of Education, 13.5% of students have student loan debt.