Column: Student loan forgiveness confusion

Sam Nowotnik, Staff Writer

When Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was announced in August, it was on track to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in debt.

Since then, the plan has faced multiple legal challenges, causing it to be put on pause. This has left millions of people in the lurch, eager to hear what will happen next, unable to plan ahead and even causing some to lose hope. 

As I near the end of my college career, I can’t help but think about how much debt I have accumulated and how long I will be paying off my student loans. Knowing I will face this once I graduate takes away some of the excitement and joy from the prospect of graduating. 

I can understand why there’s opposition to student loan forgiveness. Some of those who have paid off their debt don’t feel it’s fair and view it as a punishment for paying off their debt on time. Some people who didn’t go to college due to the high costs feel it’s unfair as well. 

However, to think this plan is unfair, the overall benefit this plan could have for millions of people would have to outweigh the negatives. So many people struggle daily to pay off student loans and it puts off starting a family, moving into their first home and building a savings.

The costs of going to college nowadays is truly crazy to think about. On top of lengthy exams, tons of homework assignments and hours of class time, students are developing financial anxiety when thinking about their future. 

The reasons for this pause on the student relief plan are not small legal cases by any means. There are big allegations and lawsuits against the Biden administration stating this plan breaks many laws. Six states are arguing that the president does not have the authority to forgive student loan debt and are fearing for their own financial safety.

If the case for student loan debt relief doesn’t win, the loan borrowers will have to begin paying back loans this January. A pause on loan payments and a 0% interest rate have been in effect since March of 2020.

What started as a simple online application to receive student loan forgiveness has led to a lot of confusion and worry in recent weeks. If you were approved for debt relief, you won’t see any of the relief discharged until the “pause” is over, but there is no indication as to when that will be. Also, the website for the application was blocked off from public access due to the pause. 

Each announcement feels as if it’s inching people further away from debt relief.

Both those in favor, and against, the Biden administration’s plan have been vocally confident they will prevail. Biden used the HERO’S Act of 2003, which is supposed to give authority and justify his action of relieving debt in the case of an emergency. In the upcoming weeks, the case will be developing with the Supreme Court and the 8th circuit court.

Hopefully, whether courts rule that the student loan forgiveness plan is legal or not, it will provide answers so that borrowers can plan for their financial future. Many people never thought this plan would even get this far. However, seeing it come so close to success and still get paused days short of going into action is shaking people’s faith in their government once again.