Loan forgiveness offers a step in the ‘right direction’

(Featured Image): President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced a plan to aid college debt for students with low income households on Aug. 24, 2022.|Courtesy

The Biden Administration presented its student loan forgiveness plan that would forgive thousands of dollars of loans for each eligible individual

In late August, as college students across the country prepared to return to campus and as graduates braced for the resumption of student loan payments, President Joe Biden announced a plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans for anyone who received Pell Grants and up to $10,000 for those who make less than $125,000 a year or have a household income of less than $250,000. 

This plan fulfills the president’s campaign promise of student loan forgiveness and makes a huge difference to millions of Americans. 

The President executed this plan in order to help families who need it the most, including the 20 million Americans who will have their student debt forgiven entirely. 

Some borrowers will see the relief immediately while the majority will have to complete an application. This application is to be released sometime in October with a four to six week turnaround. 

President Biden also announced a final extension of the student loan forgiveness period to Dec. 31. This period has been extended a number of times since its beginning in March of 2020. 

Student debt has been a burden on this country and millions of Americans for decades, and this forgiveness plan is the largest step towards progress seen in our lifetime. 

A college education does not go as far as it used to and costs significantly more than it used to, which is why it is important to make college more affordable, something progressives have been calling for since the Obama administration.

 There is much more that could be done to make college affordable, but any action that would directly reduce the cost of college would be seen as too progressive for Biden to stand a chance in the presidential elections of November 2024. 

This small step is already too much for many Americans. In the weeks since the announcement, social media has been rich with people stating their distaste for paying for other people’s education as well as the fairness of student loan forgiveness when thousands of graduates have paid off their loans since the pause. 

Personally, this plan is a blessing as it makes my debt significantly less as well as assisting with the loans my parents took out for my education. 

I understand that the idea of governmental assistance is controversial and that the idea of being bailed out of loans that students took out voluntarily does not fit the American ideal, but student loans are a major roadblock between millions of Americans and financial freedom. 

What are we to expect from our government if not assistance when we need it most? Why is it okay for banks and big businesses to receive government assistance when they need it, but when everyday people, hard-working and tax-paying Americans, are suffering under mountains of debt, government handouts are taboo? 

As a Political Science student, I understand the two schools of thought on government assistance, but as a soon to be college graduate, I am incredibly thankful for the relief and now have the opportunity to take a lower paying, more fulfilling first job now that I have an inch of breathing room in regards to my finances. 

It is important for the federal government to intervene on matters that greatly affect the day to day lives of Americans. It is at the core of American history to be hesitant to accept federal overreach, but in times of great need, it is appropriate if not necessary for the federal government to step in. 

It’s safe to say that a multi-trillion dollar hole in the pockets of the American public is a matter that demands federal intervention. This relief package is a great step in the right direction, but only the first of many greater steps to come.

By Joey Mueller