MN students upset they may have to pay back their college loans after all

Taxpayers already pay billions to subsidize the ever-skyrocketing costs of higher education. But the Biden administration wants us to pay $400 billion more so students who took out college loans can get a do-over from meeting their financial obligations.

Millions have already received the government’s rubber stamp of approval. But it turns out there’s a catch holding up the massive giveaway, as Forbes explains.

With President Biden’s signature student loan forgiveness program blocked by federal courts, millions of borrowers remain in stuck in limbo.

Biden’s one-time student loan cancellation plan would wipe out $10,000 or more in federally-administered student loan debt for borrowers who earn under $125,000 (or $250,000 if they are married). According to the Education Department, 26 million borrowers submitted applications for the student loan forgiveness program — and 16 million were approved — before federal courts shut down the initiative earlier this month.

The good news for taxpayers and the rule of law, however, was not well received by the college graduates tracked down by the Mankato Free Press recently.

“I’m disappointed because we got our hopes up only for it to get ripped away from us by people who have a backwards way of thinking,” said Gustavus alumna Josseline Sanchez about a federal judge’s Nov. 10 ruling that blocks student debt relief. “It just feels like one of those things where, because someone didn’t benefit from it in the past, they don’t want to see others get those opportunities.”

The way the paper puts it, the college grads — one from Gustavus Adolphus, the other from Minnesota State — had little choice but to take out loans to meet their goals and did so with eyes wide open. In fact, one student has matriculated to grad school with the help of more student loans.

Both Sanchez and Keonangphane sought out the opportunities that only higher education could offer, but they needed to take out loans to afford it.

Sanchez’s dream of becoming an occupational therapist led her to study psychology and English at Gustavus.

The reported cost of tuition for Gustavus during the 2020-21 school year was $50,490. This year, Gustavus is reporting its tuition to be over $1,000 more at $51,758.

“Even with scholarships, loans were the only way for me to pave my future completely,” she said. “Even now that I’m pursuing a doctorate in occupational therapy, I’m paying with PLUS loans.”

To be sure, universities have exponentially raised the cost of tuition for decades, no doubt putting higher education beyond the means of many. Institutions have been only too willing to encourage students to pile up debt to get them in the door. Once in the real world, the true cost of a college degree hits home, unless the administration prevails.

When President Joe Biden announced his plan to alleviate some of their financial stress through the program in late August, Sanchez and Keonangphane were relieved.

As a Pell Grant recipient, Keonangphane qualified for up to $20,000 in forgiveness, covering a significant amount of his loans and lifting much of his financial burden.

“If I don’t receive the loan forgiveness, I’ll have to strategically budget for the next five to 10 years. Even though I have a salary job already, it’s still a lot of pressure trying to manage and set up paying back loans,” he said. “Plans for the future will definitely be pushed back, as my priority will be trying to get the loans paid back as soon as possible.”

Small wonder every year more high school graduates decide a college education just isn’t worth it. Of course that trend could change if students think taxpayers will cover their debts. What’s to lose? In the meantime, not to worry. The administration has once again extended the long-running holiday on paying student loans back that started with Covid until summer 2023.