While debt looms over the heads of many college students, some Cal State Fullerton students are wondering if newly inaugurated President Joe Biden will go forward with a loan forgiveness plan.
According to the Education Data Organization, 43.2 million student borrowers are in debt by an average of $39,351 each. Based on this number, student loan debt in the U.S. totals to approximately $1.7 trillion.
The data also shows that some students take out an average loan of over $30,000 to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
Although Biden has extended the deadline for loan payments until Sept. 30, he has left it up to Congress to make the decision on how much forgiveness will be granted to borrowers.
This plan was not included in his $1.9 trillion stimulus package that was approved by Congress on Feb. 27.
“I think that’s going to be an issue and the details is something the senate and congressmen will need to work out,” said Emily Gonzalez, a third year biology major at CSUF.
During the race for the presidency, President Biden had shown his intentions to alleviate borrowers of their debt, starting with a $10,000 package. He also indicated that his administration would try to find more ways to help borrowers with larger debts.
Elizabeth Warren, Democrat Massachusetts senator, and Chuck Schumer, Democrat New York minority senator, are pushing for Biden to use the executive order and increase the amount to $50,000, from the proposed $10,000.
In mid-February, the Democrats’ proposal was dismissed by Biden.
Gonzalez said she thinks there will be a gradual move toward increasing the amount of relief.
“I don’t think that it will automatically go to 50,” Gonzalez said. “Look how long it took for them to figure out the relief funds for the stimulus checks. Now, we’re asking them to specifically target relief towards students.”
Some students have received sufficient funds from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or scholarships to cover school expenses. While others, like Sabrina Buong, a former CSUF student, have had to resort to borrowing money to afford their tuition and housing.
Financial aid could cover tuition, housing and miscellaneous expenses based on the cost of attendance and their expected family’s contribution.
Buong spent one semester at CSUF, where she took out two loans because she did not receive enough financial aid to cover all of her expenses.
Students tend to choose a school that will offer them financial aid, because if there are loans offered, they could attend without having to worry about the burden of debt, Buong said.
“I think it’s good, especially for students who have trouble paying for school, on top of having to pay for housing, just basic needs like food,” Buong said.