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Texas A&M students weigh in on Biden's student loan forgiveness policy

Students offer mixed and nuanced views on Biden's plan, with varying personal experiences
Posted at 9:52 PM, Aug 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-26 22:52:49-04

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As U.S. President Joe Biden announced his student debt forgiveness plan on Wednesday, canceling between $10,000 and $20,000 in debt per borrower, the decision has led to a debate across the nation.

KRHD stopped by the Memorial Student Center to ask Texas A&M students how this change may affect their lives.

“I am a first generation [college student], so I had to get a lot of scholarships to go on," said Kayla Castillo, a sophomore civil engineering major. "This college experience is kind of new to me, so it’s something new to take on. I haven't taken on any loans yet, thank God, but most of my tuition has been covered by scholarships.”

Aggie students like Castillo have worked hard in school and filled out a lot of paperwork to get the scholarships needed to attend Texas A&M.

“Personally I don’t know a lot about [Biden's decision], but I would say if you’re not getting the money from the student right now, then where is it coming from later on?" Castillo said. "Because money doesn’t just disappear, and debt doesn’t just go away.”

One recent graduate, Peter Foster, works full-time in ministry and is supported just by a small number of funds from his church. He expects to start paying hundreds of dollars monthly towards his student loans soon.

“I’m on my parent's health insurance for another two years, but it’s going to be a little bit more rough," Foster said. "But at the same time I’m a little more prepared for it – kind of something [I saved for] in advance.”

Like Castillo, Foster said he has reservations and concerns about Biden's plan when looking at it from a broad perspective, though it would reduce his own personal debt.

According to Texas A&M’s website, without any financial aid, the average total cost of attendance for one year is over $31,000. One Mays Business School sophomore, Braxton Roberts, shared that he has his tuition paid in full by scholarships, and has taken out no student loans.

He was raised by a single mom who is paying for all of his other expenses out of her own pocket.

"Well I took economics both semesters last year, and we learned that nothing’s free – someone has to pay for it," he said. "... Me personally, I think that us here at Texas A&M are the future of America, and if that means that everyone else chips in a little bit more to help us get an education, I’m in support of it.”

Lindyn Navera is an Aggie sophomore planning to obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience and become a psychologist. She said that she’s generally in support of President Biden reducing student debt.

She has taken out about $15,000 in student loans so far and pointed out that she’ll be in college for a long time.

“I think education is really important for advancements as a society as a whole, not just a select few people," Navera said. "Especially with education being so expensive nowadays, it’s really limiting the number of people who can get the best education that they need.”

Michael Shipp, a junior studying construction science, has taken on student loans and said those loans will be paid off over time with help from members of his family. He sees some major disadvantages to Biden’s plan.

"It’s kind of screwing over the people who have already paid their loans off, and who've worked really hard to get their loans paid off so they don’t have that burden anymore," he said.

Whether for or against student loan forgiveness, most of the students agreed – it costs quite a lot to be a student this year!