The community had mixed feelings about Biden’s loan forgiveness plan. Some say it’s not fair, while others believe it’s not enough.

AUSTIN, Texas — After President Joe Biden announced he would cancel student loan debt for 43 million borrowers, people in Austin had mixed feelings about the proposed relief.

KVUE’s Daranesha Herron took to one of Austin’s busiest streets: South Congress Avenue. Whiteboard in hand, she polled the community for their thoughts on the new student loan forgiveness plan.

“I have over $26,000 left,” said Leah Fritz.

That’s an amount that Fritz said would take her 10 to 20 years to pay off.

When asked if she had student loan debt, Kati Rivera said, “It’s more than $20,000.”

Greg Baker has been paying his student loans for 25 years.

“I finally got below $10,000,” Baker said.

Emma Fritz’s student loan has been paid off, but her husband’s has not.

“My husband had $9,990 left over and we kind of waited for it,” Emma said.

Almost every person we spoke to has student loan debt, but their opinions on the relief vary widely.

“I’m very happy,” said Fritz. “Obviously it takes away a lot of that, so it’s a little bit more manageable now.”

“I think people probably have more than $10,000 or $20,000 in student loan debt, and that’s just not enough,” Kati Rivera said of the relief. “I think it should be everything.”

Although Baker has been paying off his loans for two decades, he does not support loan forgiveness.

“You know what you’re getting into,” Baker said. “I mean, you took out a loan to get something, you have to pay it back. But I’m in favor of suspending interest on student loans, and I’m in favor of them capping their income at 5% – home salary.”

Hansom Wong sees the opposite.

“You have to pay your bills, but when the bill keeps growing, when you get that loan when you’re young and don’t understand the implications, you know,” Wong said.

Fritz was the only person interviewed by KVUE who did not have a student loan.

“I’ve paid mine off, but it doesn’t affect how I feel about other people,” Emma said. “I’m still happy for others.”

The loan forgiveness plan eliminates $20,000 in student loan debt for those who received a Pell grant. There is $10,000 in debt relief for non-Pell grant recipients.

For those who are not married, their income must be less than $125,000 to qualify. Married couples must have combined incomes of less than $250,000 to qualify.

The plan also extended the pause in student loan repayments to December 31. The administration also halved monthly student loan payments. Borrowers only have to pay 5% of their income.

The White House said this plan could eliminate the entire balance for around 20 million people.

To get the loan waiver, the White House said the Department of Education already has the data it needs to automatically do this for 8 million people.

Others can fill out an application submitted online before the December 31 loan payment pause ends.

This applies to both current and former students.

Borrowers can sign up to be notified when this information becomes available available online here.

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