Here’s what University of Iowa students think about President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

President Joe Biden announced his student loan debt plan on Wednesday, and students from the University of Iowa say they are relieved but hesitant.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Photo Illustration by Ayrton Breckenridge.

Jackson Kalmar, News Reporter

For University of Iowa fourth-year student Mikeala Hoover, President Joe Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan – which forgives up to $20,000 in debt for some borrowers – is not enough.

“You should be forgiven for all student debt, not just $20,000 and not just for certain people but for everybody,” Hoover, who studies English and creative writing, said.

Mikaela Hoover poses for a photo in the Adler Journalism Building on Wednesday, Aug. 24. (Jackson Kalmar)

As a Pell Grant recipient, Hoover said she feels as though she is greatly affected by Biden’s announcement on student loan forgiveness.

“If he does it for Pell Grant students, then I will be getting forgiveness, but at the end of the day, only a portion of my debt,” Hoover said.

The plan, announced Wednesday, will reward forgiveness to 43 million borrowers, according to the White House. Debt will be terminated completely for an estimated 20 million borrowers. Additionally, Biden extended the national loan payments freeze to until January 2023.

The loan generally does not need to be paid back to the government. Households making $250,000 or less in combined income are eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. The grant is awarded based on income and financial situation.

Three years after graduating from the UI, 2.2 percent of students default on their student loans, according to a state Board of Regents 2022 student financial aid report.

RELATED: Biden’s new student loan plan will forgive up to $20,000 in debt

The UI, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa three-year debt default rate for the class of 2018 is lower than state and national averages, the report said.

Loan payments are expected to lower each month for borrowers by almost 50 percent. This will give currently enrolled undergrad students more time to pay off their debts in the post-college world.

For other UI students, the new plan is welcome, but unusual to them.

Adrian Alvarez poses for a photo outside the University of Iowa Main Library in Iowa City. (Jackson Kalmar)

Adrian Alvarez, a freshman studying computer science and engineering, said having student loan debt stunts people from being able to live their lives to the fullest.

“I feel like college is way too expensive these days especially because of inflation it makes it a lot harder to do anything, like buying a house or helping to save and buy a house,” Alvarez said. “Most people cannot do what they want because they have to pay off their student loan debt.”

Cody Allison poses for a photo inside of the Iowa Memorial Union on Wednesday, Aug. 24. (Jackson Kalmar)

Cody Allison, a third-year computer science and engineering student and U.S. Army veteran, whose education is being paid for using the army’s GI Bill, said he feels conflicted about the plan.

“Personally, it’s a little frustrating,” he said. “From the perspective of having to work hard in the army for a college education, and to see some people that didn’t work so hard have the same thing is a little disappointing.”