Community reacts to loan forgiveness


Seth Wenig

New graduates walk into the High Point Solutions Stadium before the start of the Rutgers University graduation ceremony in Piscataway Township, N.J., on May 13, 2018. President Joe Biden’s student loan cancellation offers a life-changing financial break for millions of Americans. But for future students heading to college under the same conditions that created today’s debt, critics say it offers little help. Chief among the causes of today’s rising student debt is the cost of college. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Ava Acharya, News Editor

On Aug. 24, 2022, United States President Joe Biden announced his plans to relieve up to $20,000, per person, of student loan debt, according to an article published by the Associated Press.Biden’s plan will have a massive impact on the Loyola community, as many students and alumni take on federal loans in order to pay for their college education. Having these loans forgiven affects their current and future financial status.

Nicole Haasse Hench, a Loyola alumnus and freelance journalist, said that she is still paying off loans after graduating in 2003. These loan payments, Hench said, cost her a couple hundred dollars a month.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said of Biden’s program. “It’ll be a huge relief.”

Hench, now 41 years old, said that she still owes several tens of thousands of dollars for her undergraduate degree. And previously, she did not see that amount decreasing anytime soon. Now, Hench said that Biden’s loan forgiveness plan has given her hope for a debt- free future.

“In ten years, I could be debt free,” she said. “ I feel relieved.”

Lesly Williams, a sophomore nursing major at Loyola, said that under Biden’s plan, he will be able to get all of his loans forgiven, as he said his loan total is under $10,000.

Williams said that having these loans forgiven will allow him to continue his education, as he plans on going to graduate school and has now been able to begin saving to cover those tuition costs.

“After graduation, I will have less things to worry about in terms of affording things,” he said, “And I can focus more on the events of my career and saving up for graduate school.”

Kieva Banks, a junior at Loyola majoring in classical vocal performance, said that she is unsure how this plan will affect her.

Banks said that, due to her parents’ ongoing divorce, she is uncertain of her personal financial future.

“I’m in a weird financial situation. Everything is up in the air right now,” Banks said.

Regardless, she acknowledges how helpful this plan will be, especially for low-income students.

“Everyone should have access to education, regardless of demographics,” she said.

Despite the approval of this plan, many lawmakers have stated that it is unfair and will only cause further economic difficulties without addressing the root causes behind high college tuition, according to a CBS article on the topic.

“I do worry how this is going to affect the economy,” Banks said.

She said that this plan seems like a temporary fix, rather than a long-lasting solution.

Both Hench and Williams said that they view Biden’s loan forgiveness plan as a first step.

“This will help a lot of people, but it’s just a start. A lot more can be done and should be done,” Williams said.