'People are paying a lot of money': What students say about Biden's loan forgiveness plan

·2 min read

The Biden administration’s announced plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of Americans caused a stir this week, but what do students think?

ABC News hit the road to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to hear what students had to say about President Joe Biden's announcement on forgiving student loan debt.

Biden on Wednesday said his administration would forgive tens of thousands of dollars for individuals earning less than $125,000 a year. Students at UNC offered different thoughts on the president's latest action.

Elizabeth Johnson, a student at UNC, said that she supports Biden forgiving student loans.

PHOTO: Activists hold cancel student debt signs as they gather to rally in front of the White House, Aug. 25, 2022.  (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Activists hold cancel student debt signs as they gather to rally in front of the White House, Aug. 25, 2022. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

"People are paying a lot of money, and the loans aren't really changing, because interest rates are so steep and so, this forgiveness just kind of helps negate some of that," Johnson said.

People who took out Pell Grants to pay for college, which are grants given to low-income borrowers, can qualify for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness as part of Wednesday's broader announcement on student loan forgiveness. Other student loan borrowers who don't have Pell Grants will still have loans forgiven up to $10,000, the White House says.

Although some people support the White House's action on student debt, some said higher education has become difficult to pay for and is out of reach for many.

"To get an education in this country, it shouldn't be such a heavy financial burden on somebody, it shouldn't even be an issue," said Jasmine Bright, a sophomore at UNC.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 24, 2022. (Evan Vucci/AP, FILE)
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 24, 2022. (Evan Vucci/AP, FILE)

According to the Education Data Initiative, Black graduates owe $25,000 more in debt than their white counterparts. Biden's loan forgiveness plan will benefit the Black community and allow for more opportunities to meet certain financial goals, according to the plan.

"Because of how this announcement rolled out, it would allow for many Americans, particularly African-Americans now, to pursue the opportunity of home ownership and property ownership because of the current debt ratio," Derrick Johnson, the CEO and president of the NAACP, told ABC News.

MORE: How to have student loans forgiven if you don't qualify for Biden's forgiveness program

Still, the cost of loan forgiveness is high. On Friday, the White House said that Biden's loan forgiveness plan will cost about $24 billion a year over the next 10 years, meaning a total of $240 billion, but others believe that it could end up costing more.

Kent Smetters, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and director of the Penn Wharton budget model, told ABC News that Biden's plan could cost over $1 trillion.

"There is no specific dedicated revenue for the additional costs associated with his plan," Smetters said. And so, it will simply add to the national debt. And the national debt is already almost the size of the economy, so that it will grow even more."

'People are paying a lot of money': What students say about Biden's loan forgiveness plan originally appeared on abcnews.go.com