Art by Hannah Singer

Climbing out of debt

To ease Americans’ student loan debt, President Joe Biden announced the Student Loan Forgiveness program on Aug. 24. Biden said the program will cancel $10,000 in debt for those who earn less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for those who have received Pell grants for low-income families.

In his speech announcing the program, Biden said people will “finally be able to climb out from that mountain of debt.” 

And history teacher Justin Cronin said he thinks Biden’s plan for financial relief is beneficial for post-graduates with financial struggles. 

“I think it offers a much more manageable way to pay down your student debt once you graduate,” Cronin said. 

Cronin also said the plan could help people have more security rather than focusing on day-to-day resources.

“If you were forced to pay a large chunk of your money to pay off debt, that could impact you on food, shelter, clothing. Now, you have a little bit more wiggle room,” Cronin said. 

English teacher Katie Elder said she can relate to the difficulties of having staggering student loans after college and said the forgiveness plan could create new opportunities for young adults. 

“Loan forgiveness could have the potential to really change peoples’ lives,” Elder said. “Doors open for students who do not have resources otherwise.”

Cronin also said the plan is one step closer to fixing the ongoing problem of skyrocketing college tuition. 

It’s not (only) trying to correct a historical problem, but it’s also trying to set up a system that was flawed and make it less flawed,” Cronin said. “It’s still not perfect, but I think it’s headed in the right direction.” 

However, Economics teacher Grant Blackburn said Biden’s plan doesn’t fix the actual problem. 

“I think the plan, while good intentioned, is probably a bad idea,” Blackburn said. “It doesn’t solve the underlying problem of affordability of going to college and helping students navigate the myriad of options they have.”

Blackburn also said the plan may encourage students to only view one path as a way to success.  

“I think a lot of students feel like they have to (take the traditional college route), which is often the more expensive way,” Blackburn said. 

In fact, he thinks Biden’s plan may backfire by making colleges more expensive and harder to attend. 

“Right now, if you have a student loan, (the Student Loan Forgiveness program) increases the affordability of going to college, and that makes it more likely that colleges are going to increase their prices,” Blackburn said. “The irony is that by making college more affordable and more accessible to more Americans, it actually makes it less affordable and less adaptable.”