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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Biden Admin. to relieve student debt, with room for improvement

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN
Ariana Ibarra
Photo Illustration / THE CHANNELS

Students everywhere in the U.S. can finally catch a breather as Biden promises to relieve a huge chunk of student loan debt. As a City College student, I have always known that my education could cost my parents hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of the reasons I chose City College was because I simply don’t want to die in debt. 

Students may be getting back up to $20,000 in student loan debt relief due to an impactful new plan announced by Biden’s administration in late August.

According to CNN reporter Katie Lobosco, the policy would allow qualified graduates to receive up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness and any graduates with pell grants are eligible to be relieved of up to $20,000. Pell grants are awarded through Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA) to many low-income students every year, based on financial factors, family size, and tuition charged by their respective colleges. 

High-income earners will be excluded from this plan which I think is one of the best aspects of this bill. The income gap in the U.S. has always been an issue and this is finally a step in the right direction. 

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Though this bill won’t immediately relieve all student debt, it does a good job of lessening the wealth gap between Black and White people in the United States. According to CNN, the State Sponsored Life Insurance program (SSLI) estimated that this new policy could completely wipe out the debts of 3.8 million Black borrowers, which is almost half of all Black people with federal student loan debt.

The issue of student loans has always been a pressing problem in the U.S. that has become very political. Although this is a progressive move it doesn’t address the problem at large. In reality, policies need to be made on the way our government funds college education. 

This bill also doesn’t include students who haven’t taken out loans or people who have already paid their loans back. I’m sure some people are left wondering ‘what about me?’ Not only does the bill exclude people who don’t fit into the time frame or income level, but in some states the money forgiven could end up being taxed.

I am extremely thankful to live in a state where the federal government understands students’ struggles and how much we have been impacted by COVID-19 as well. 

A policy like this wasn’t even politically imaginable 5 years ago. Now, according to The Los Angeles Times, it has the potential to automatically wipe out the debt of 8 million borrowers.

Yes, there are some faults and it doesn’t attack the student loan mess as a whole, but at least we are moving forward in our attempts to help relieve students of this unnecessary debt. 

More action needs to be taken by our government, but I am grateful that Biden is being proactive in the complicated system of higher education. 

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