HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — College students in the Midstate head back to campus this year with a little less stress and a little less debt. Why? President Biden approved a student loan forgiveness program.
Reactions have been mixed. abc27 spoke to students at Harrisburg University who said Biden’s plan is a relief, but not everyone feels the same way. Plus, the president’s plan is not set in stone on the legal side.
“Everyone I feel, deserves, should have an equal opportunity to be able to go to school,” Harrisburg University senior Chanta Brunson said.
The forensics investigation major is back for her last year with a weight off her shoulders.
“I heard the news, and I called my mom and I was like, ‘Mom, I don’t have much debt to pay,'” she said about learning of Biden’s plan.
For Brunson, the student loan forgiveness program is a welcome surprise. She has about $12,000 in federal loans.
“I didn’t think they were going to be able to have time to focus really on trying to get rid of student loans because it’s been a conversation for the longest time,” she said.
The plan will forgive up to $10,000 of federal loans for people making under $125,000 or couples making under $250,000. Pell Grant recipients can get up to $20,000 forgiven.
“I’m very excited that there’s a lot of people that can actually benefit from this,” Harrisburg University senior Nathalie Reyes said.
However, the program is already facing opposition — from Republicans in Congress as well as people in the community.
“Why forgive loans that someone is choosing, knowingly,they’re signing something saying that I’m taking on this debt, I’m responsible for this debt and then complain after they pick a job that doesn’t pay their debt,” said one man who spoke to ABC News.
Others think the program does not go far enough.
“It’s not really enough for them, they probably need more because the compiling interest,” a Georgia Tech student said.
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The plan is also likely to face legal challenges. It is unclear if the president has the authority to do this without legislation from Congress.
Still, students like Reyes are relieved, especially since she is also dealing with high inflation.
“It will make it just so much easier. I do have a cat that I have to take care of and rent to pay,” Reyes said.
Reyes has about $20,000 in loans. For her and Brunson, Biden’s program means an easier road ahead.
“It’ll be nice to be able to focus on my job and not have to worry so much about money and where it’s going to go,” Brunson said.
“Having any help honestly is enough for me,” Reyes said.
Students are still waiting for details on how to apply for loan forgiveness. The Department of Education is expected to release that information in a few weeks. If there are legal challenges, that timeline could shift.