Binghamton University Students React to Student Loan Forgiveness
On Wednesday morning, President Joe Biden announced a plan for student loan forgiveness for many and Binghamton University students had a strong reaction.
The Biden Administration's Student Loan Debt Plan will forgive $10,000 of debt for those with student loans who are making under $125,000 per year and $20,000 for students who went to college on Pell Grants. President Biden also extended the student loan pause for what is expected to be the final time, through December 31, 2022. And for undergraduate loans, people can cap repayment at 5% of their monthly income.
WNBF spoke with a number of Binghamton University students following the announcement, and every one thought this was a great step towards solving the student loan crisis.
Kitty Liao, one of the students who spoke with WNBF, said "It's a good thing. Student loan debt is one of the biggest issues in the United States right now. Personally, I've been fortunate enough to not have to take out as many loans but I know my older sister went to private school so obviously it's going to be a lot more than a SUNY. But if they could figure out a way to relieve all student loans I think that'd be best."
"It's great, perfect," said Tatiana Balasenowich. "I'm drowning in debt and I think that would be very beneficial not only to me, but to literally everyone who's struggling because of Covid and loss of jobs and everything. I think it could be more but I'll take what I can get."
Dr. Tim Lavis, an employee at Binghamton University, said "It's not enough but it's a start. It's moving in the right direction. Overall it'll help the economy even if it costs us something in the short term getting people out of student loan debt it'll have a positive impact in the long term."
The recurring theme among Binghamton University students was that this move by President Biden should only be a starting point. And many other reactions have criticized the move on the basis of racial inequality, as minority students statistically take out more loans than white students. One report from Julie Rogier of U.S. News says that Black and Hispanic students take tend to take larger loans with higher interest rates than white students, and that 69.4% of Hispanic and Latino students borrow more than $40,000. So $10,000 in student loan forgiveness goes a lot further for white students statistically than Black or Hispanic students.
Jack Zhou told WNBF "I feel like they're doing what they can at this point and age. I feel like a lot of the solutions that come with loan forgiveness and financial problems that are happening around the world, I think it's more of a what can we do now and what can we fix later on. It's not a perfect solution but they're solutions."
Another popular aspect of student loan criticism has been the predatory nature the industry. It's no secret that college tuition has risen drastically over the past few decades and many jobs now require at least a Bachelor's degree to even get a foot in the door. So many teenagers need to take massive loans out even to attend a state school like Binghamton University.
Dominic Perfetti told WNBF "Having received all that mail, to some extent these loans that aren't the most ideal loans that are from firms as opposed to federal loans, if you're not very knowledgeable on the subject the loans that I'm most notified about are the ones that I'm most notified about. So I would say "predatory" is a word that you could definitely use to describe it."
It's unknown what the next steps in solving the $1.6 trillion student loan debt crisis are. But if you ask Binghamton University students, full forgiveness for student loans should definitely be on the table.