By Lillian Lewis
Let me start by saying I am extremely privileged. I have the luxury of having parents who can pay for my college education. Yes, I have a job outside of school, but most of that money I don’t worry about if it will pay off the next semester, I wonder how much I’ll need to get front row when Fall Out Boy tours for their new album (probably not enough). Or what overpriced outfit or Uber Eats meal do I want that day.
Many students at William Peace University and all across America have the same struggle of knowing they will be in debt for at least 10 years, possibly 25 just for a bachelor’s degree according to Time Magazine. Many students have jobs to help ease the financial struggle, but with academics and extracurriculars, it can sometimes be overwhelming. This is why the promise of student loan forgiveness looks so enticing.
Like many Peace students, I wish the burden of these loans did not exist. But I also wish that student forgiveness would be just that: forgiveness. And not an empty promise.
Having financial support for student loans is not the case for many students at William Peace University or students at any college. Student loans crush them like an anvil crushes cartoon characters: swiftly, forcibly, and foolishly. It seems that this was the norm for a while. Encourage students to go to college to get a better education and job however, the double-edged sword is lifelong debt. Ironic.
According to CNN, last October, the Biden – Harris Administration announced their student loan forgiveness applications. According to the administration, the plan was that The U.S. Department of Education would give up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients if the applicants were eligible.
Spoiler alert; that is not what happened. The situation has been difficult, with multiple lawsuits being brought against the program, one of the most prominent being 6 republican states suing President Biden.
I, along with 9 million other university students received this email. 9 million of us were most likely jumping for joy and feeling as if we won the lottery. However, it didn’t last that long. Like before, the anvil came and put 9 million students under its heel.
According to NPR, in Mid-December, the U.S. Department of Education stated that there was an error and the emails were false. This may not seem like a huge deal. It’s not as if they had already mailed students the check and then said “Oh actually never mind! Sorry guys we made a mistake!”
Yes, luckily it didn’t get that far but it is still grim for students to think about. For some students, that was the difference between having to work full-time while going to school. It could have created financial stability for their future. It’s a slap in the face. This doesn’t mean they will not qualify in the future, but who knows when that will be or if they will.
I don’t mean to sound so cynical. I think this can be a great thing for everyone. And with the pushback from many parties, it is hard to tell when forgiveness will come. However, 9 million students being offered forgiveness then denying them is careless. If we want students to continue their education and attend college we need to make it accessible and stop crushing them. We need to help take the weight off their shoulders.