Students weigh in on loan forgiveness

President Joe Biden Press Conference on federal student loan forgiveness. Photo courtesy: Alex Wong- Getty Images

President Joe Biden recently announced a plan to forgive up to $20,000 of federal student loans for those who qualify.

Biden has advocated for student loan forgiveness since campaigning for president 2020 Two years later, the White House has now put out a three-part plan that embodies what exactly Biden’s plan is.

According to the FACT SHEET provided by the White House, the Department of Education will forgive up to $20,000 to Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients.

The Department of Education is also proposing a new income-driven repayment plan that will cut monthly payments in half for undergraduate loans.

The claim that was made is “to make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers.”

According to Education Data Initiative, African American college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than white college graduates.

Black and African American bachelor’s degree holders also have an average of $52,000 in student loan debt.

At Florida A&M University, a predominately Black institution with about an 83% Black population, this new plan will certainly have a widespread impact on the school’s students.


Devan Vilfrard a senior and chief justice of FAMU’s Student Government Association and former NAACP chapter president for FAMU, says this plan is only a step in the right direction.

“When it comes to the cancellation of student debt, $10,000 to $20,000 is a great start but I believe it should be all student debt. It is a great start, but it is a Band-Aid for a solution that we shouldn’t even have a problem for,” Vilfrard said.

Vilfrard has years of experience working with the NAACP on debt relief. Vilfrard says that he and his colleagues have been advocating for $50,000 of student loan debt cleared as a minimum, as well as the cancellation of all student debt loans.

“This will impact students at FAMU, and alumni exponentially Imagine coming out of school and you have $30,000 in loans,” he said. “These types of situations only widen the debt-to-income ratio, it makes it harder for you to buy a home or a car or anything that involves credit. So as an HBCU student and having up to $20,000 of debt cleared makes it way easier to attain these types of things,” Vilfrard said.

Adrianne Harden, a summer 2022 FAMU graduate, says loan forgiveness is a step in the right direction. However, she does have some concerns.

“I didn’t get the Pell Grant, so I would qualify for only up to $10,000; $10,000 is something but I know people who are way more in debt than $10,000. That is like nothing for people who are going to school more; people are sometimes in debt for like $50,000. So, I feel like it helps people who had the Pell Grant but for others who didn’t it’s not that effective,” Harden said.

Harden added that she believes that this plan will benefit young adults the most.

“I feel like it will help young adults who just graduated and are getting into the real world. After I graduated and moved into the city, I see how expensive this world is; so, I think it’ll help young professionals the most,” Harden said.