Student loan forgiveness helpful, but it doesn’t address high college costs, San Antonio students say

UTSA economist says student loan forgiveness will have minor impact compared to stimulus packages

Although people currently enrolled in college do not qualify for the student loan forgiveness, UTSA and San Antonio College students have mixed opinions after President Biden’s announcement.

SAN ANTONIO – President Joe Biden announced a plan to relieve student debt Wednesday afternoon, saying up to $10,000 would be forgiven and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

According to the Biden administration, at least 43 million people will benefit from the loan forgiveness, and at least 20 million people will have their debt completely forgiven. Sixty percent of federal student loan recipients are Pell Grant eligible.

Although people currently enrolled in college do not qualify, UTSA and San Antonio College students have mixed opinions after Biden’s announcement.

One student said he was pleased by the announcement.

“I think it’ll be really good, especially for, like, students who make a lower income for sure,” the UTSA student said.

Another UTSA student said they feel the relief is only a drop in the bucket of their debt.

“Personally, I think it should just be like percentages of people’s debt. Not just like a $10,000, $20,000 cut. But, like I said, it’s a start,” the other UTSA student said.

Other students say Biden’s announcement means more spending money that goes into the economy.

“I go to a restaurant. I could tip a little better because I have extra money. So now I’m helping out the waiter or waitress at the restaurant. So it’s going to have like this trickle-down effect to help more than just me,” one SAC student said.

While some economists argue it could worsen inflation, UTSA economist Tom Tunstall said it would have a minor impact compared to stimulus checks.

“We’ve had several stimulus packages. One was in excess of $1 trillion. So, I mean, to put things in perspective, this is a, you know, I guess a comparatively minor shot in the arm. And the good news is that it’s going to tend to benefit folks that need it the most,” Tunstall said.

Most students we spoke to tell us this relief is helpful, but it does not address the high price of going to college.

“What universities and colleges are charging nowadays, (the debt relief is) kind of helpful, especially if you’re wanting to go into a career field where you’re paying over $100,000 for a school. So it helps, but not as much as you would hope,” one SAC student said.

The Biden administration said the loan forgiveness is not automatic, and people will have to apply. It will release more information on how to apply for forgiveness in the coming days.

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About the Authors:

Camelia Juarez is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2022. Camelia comes from a station in Lubbock, Texas. Now, she is back in her hometown. She received her degree from Texas State University. In her free time, Camelia enjoys thrifting, roller-skating and spending time with family and friends.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.