Tahlequah students praise President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which is now an office of the US Department of Education.
Under the program, borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year, or households earning less than $250,000, are eligible for loan forgiveness of $10,000, and those who have received Pell grants can receive a additional discount of $10,000. The announcement was praised and criticized throughout Cherokee County.
Proponents believe it will relieve some of the debt burden of average families and boost the economy. Critics say the program isn’t fair for those who have already paid off their student debt and those who pay taxes but choose not to go to college.
Dell Barnes, Vice Chairman of the Cherokee County Democratic Party, believes the program will help stimulate the economy.
“I am very pleased that families are getting direct help with student loans. Households are the basic units of our consumer economy and helping them frees up budgets for more productive spending. I am grateful that our national priorities include the consideration of families, the very source of labour, employment and demand in our economy,” he said.
Yolette Ross, chairwoman of the Cherokee Democratic Party, thinks it’s a good political move for Biden ahead of the midterms. She has mixed feelings about asking taxpayers to pay back college loans, but she also agrees that educating the American public is important and that the cost of college has increased dramatically over the past few decades. .
“I graduated from college in 1979. Do you know how much my student loans were? Five thousand dollars! It was a big change back then, and it was hard to make that debt go away, but I I’ve done. I look at the kids, and they’re between $60,000 and $100,000 in debt, or even more, depending on your program,” she said.
When she was in college, a credit hour cost $12. In 2022, the average college credit at a four-year college is $390. Credits at the Ivy League cost over $1,000 and at Northeastern State University a credit ranges from $246.65 to $293.15 for undergraduate courses and $303.90 for graduate courses. cycle. This cost jumps for non-Oklahoma residents.
State Sen. Dewayne Pemberton, R-Muskogee, does not support Biden’s agenda and said there are ways for students to cut the cost of college.
“This challenge has been going on for over a decade. There are options to work through and offset some of these costs. A lot of it is pre-planning. It depends a lot on where you go to school,” Pemberton said.
He recommended students attend local schools like NSU or Connors State College and then transfer to larger schools like the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University.
“It’s a lot cheaper than a research university,” he said.
He thinks the choice to cancel student loans is arbitrary and politically motivated.
“They estimate that it will cost us a trillion dollars. We have a lot of debt, which causes more inflation. At the same time, it is a question of responsibility,” he said. “If we give $10,000 or $20,000 in student debt relief, then why don’t we forgive car debt or home debt?” It is not the government’s responsibility to cover student debt. It harms the bond and the youth and sends the wrong message. Should the company pay for your experience? I have a problem with that. It’s a political gimmick to collect votes.
Many Republican politicians across the state, including Congressman Markwayne Mullin, criticized Biden over the program. In a tweet from the official White House Twitter account, the Biden administration called out Mullin for having $1.4 million in PPP loans canceled, after he blasted the program on his own Twitter feed.
“It is hypocritical for him to criticize the president when his loan was cancelled. Although these PPP loans may not have been intended to be repaid, it is still a loan forgiveness. benefited because he didn’t have to pay to get it back,” Ross said.
During a Saturday forum, readers of the TDP intervened.
“Politicians who accepted the cancellation of PPP loans, but who oppose it for their constituents, are flamboyant hypocrites,” said David Smalley. “The cost of higher education has risen to the point where it is unattainable for most without going into massive debt. The predatory nature of student loans means people will be in debt for decades. This has a debilitating effect on the economy A better educated population benefits everyone.”
Susan Feller also believes that educated societies benefit everyone.
“Why should people go into debt to death to get an advanced degree? Tuition is ridiculously expensive, while college administrators live like fat cats and sit on bloated endowments. I don’t I have no problem giving people a little boost with the loans, but the real problem is the cost of education. Fix that,” she said.
Shane Richardson, who paid off his student loans, said the system was down.
“I’ve paid off my student loans and I can tell anyone, first hand, how these loans are attacking students. It takes years of payments to finally see the principal balance go down. A lot of people like “I pay back two or three times the original loan amount before it’s over. The system needs to be fixed where the return on investment is more doable and not crippling for people looking for it,” he said.
The Cherokee County Republican Party was asked for comment but did not respond by press time. NSU’s communications department has been contacted for comment and asked about the impact of the program on students, but staff members said they are still reviewing the matter and NSU has no comment. for the moment.
What you said
Readers were asked what they thought of Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, and locals were more sharply divided on the issue than those who commented on the TDP’s Facebook page. Forty-two percent said they strongly supported the pardon program, while 42% strongly opposed it. Ten percent somewhat support the program, while 4% somewhat oppose it, while 3% are undecided on the issue.