Student borrowers could get up to $20,000 in relief

Briona Bargerstock has big plans ahead of her.

The 21-year-old student at Penn Behrend State is majoring in psychology and hopes to attend graduate school of social work and eventually law school.

But like almost 43 million US students and graduates, Bargerstock assumes federal student loan debt. And despite obtaining scholarships and a PellGrantBargerstock, now elderly, said she will graduate with at least $12,000 in debt, a burden that will surely increase as her studies continue.

“It’s a very scary thing,” Bargerstock said. “Debt is like something constantly hanging over your head. You know money is piling up. And it causes stress for minor homework because you just want to be the best student to get the best job. – in order to be able to pay all this debt.”

Bargerstock, who is from Armstrong County, pays in-state tuition to Behrend, who, according to the Behrend website, is $15,904. The amount corresponds to the average cost of tuition in the state of public universities in Pennsylvania, according to a report by the Education Data Initiative.

While Bargerstock said she had help from her parents, financial aid, and even a part-time college job. Reed Union Building information desk is still not enough.

“That doesn’t cover everything unfortunately, and that’s the sad reality for a lot of students,” she said.

Biden’s debt relief plan aims to cancel up to $20,000 in debt

The news of President Joe Biden Student Debt Relief Program wants to be a lifeline.

The program, which was announced in August, provides up to $10,000 in debt relief for borrowers with federal debt and up to an additional $10,000 for students who are Pell Grant recipients. Eligible borrowers must earn less than $125,000 per year or belong to households earning less than $250,000 per year.

Borrowers have until December 31, 2023 to apply for the program at

The Biden administration also extended a pause on federal loan repayments through January. The hiatus began in March 2020 to provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Application available:Application for Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is available: Here’s what to know

For full-time undergraduates, the average debt at graduation is $25,921, or $6,480 for each year of a four-year degree at a public university, according to the Association of Public and Land Universities.

For students like Bargerstock, who received a Pell grant, the debt relief program could be a game-changer and effectively wipe out his entire $12,000 debt.

“I will be able to start my higher education with a clean slate,” she said. “It will allow me to start my professional career with less worries and I will be able to invest more money in housing, a new car and to help my family, which is very important to me. It will ease a burden and open so many doors for me.”

Debt relief plan faces legal pushback, Rep Kelly calls it ‘unconstitutional’

The program is not without detractors.

U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, R-16th Dist., called the plan unconstitutional, too expensive and an unfair tax burden on Americans who don’t have a college student in their family.

“You ask some people — moms and dads who never had enough money to send their own kids to school — and you say, ‘Now we’re passing that debt on to you,'” Kelly said. in an interview with the Erie Times-News. “Even if they don’t have anyone in school, the taxpayers are going to foot the bill.”

U.S. Representative Mike Kelly, of Butler, R-16th Dist., holds a press conference at the Erie County Republican Party Headquarters in Millcreek Township on July 22, 2022.

Six states are waging legal battles:Federal appeals court temporarily blocks Biden’s student debt relief plan

Legal challenges:Legal challenges mount for Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan

Kelly, of Butler, who is running for re-election in November, insisted the program was politically motivated – deliberately unveiled ahead of November’s midterm elections – and will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the plan will cost at least $400 billion over the next 30 years, according to a USA Today report.

By the numbers:Canceling Biden’s student loan will cost the US about $400 billion, CBO estimates

“I’m just saying to hard-working American taxpayers, ‘Be careful, they’re coming for every penny you have to put something across the board that’s a political game,'” Kelly said. “It has nothing to do with good politics. The constitution doesn’t put the president in a position to make that decision. It has to go through Congress.”

Biden justified the enactment of the debt relief plan via a law passed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 which gives the administration the power to cancel student loan debt in the event of a national emergency.

Biden justifies his plan with the post-9/11 law:Supreme Court rejects challenge to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program

Pending:Federal appeals court temporarily blocks Biden’s student debt relief plan

On Oct. 21, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked the Biden administration from moving forward with the debt relief package, according to a USA Today report. The lawsuit came as six states argued Biden had no reason to write off the debt of millions of borrowers.

Another one suitrecently filed by the Job Creators Network Foundationargues that the administration violated federal procedures by failing to seek public input on the program, according to the JCNF’s website.

The program is still accepting applications despite the pause.

Tuition has outpaced inflation

From 2010 to 2020, college tuition inflation averaged 4.63% per year. During the same period, tuition fees in public four-year institutions increased by 31.4%. report of the Education Data Initiative.

The rising cost of college education has been linked to increased demand for attending college and increased demand for federal aid, as well as decreased state funding. According to a report of the College Council.

Dan Pastore, left, Democratic candidate for the 16th congressional district, speaks with Roberta McCall, 68, an Erie resident, during a campaign meeting at cellar 54 in the Northeast Township on 7 October 2022.

For Kelly’s Democratic challenger Dan Pastore of Fairview, Biden did the “right thing” in unveiling the debt relief package, but the skyrocketing cost of higher education is really the underlying issue. underlying, according to an emailed statement to the Times-News.

“The costs of going to college and trade schools have far outpaced inflation, and the financial aid industry has become predatory. We need real reform to make college attendance or a more affordable tech school for every American family,” he said.

Is the debt relief program a “small victory”?

Bargerstock said it hoped to take advantage of the debt relief package, but acknowledged it was more of a “short-term solution to a long-term problem”.

“We wouldn’t have to implement this stuff if the university scaled back and made it more reasonable for students to get degrees,” she said. “It’s a small victory for a big problem. A good start but by no means an end.”

AJ Rao can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @ETNRao.

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