Students and alumni of historically black colleges are likely to be among the biggest beneficiaries of President Biden’s plan to forgive student loan debt.
This is because students at these schools are far more likely to receive federal loans than their peers elsewhere. In addition, their student loan balances are higher and their average incomes are lower, according to a ledger analysis of federal loan data from North and South Carolina colleges.
For example, at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, 86% of students receive federal student loans, according to the data — the highest figure among the 20 Carolina colleges surveyed by The Ledger. That’s more than double the percentage of students with loans at Clemson (39%) and NC State (41%), more than triple the figure at UNC Chapel Hill (23%) and more than four times the figure private colleges such as Duke (19%), Wake Forest (18%) and Davidson (15%).
“What you saw was a bit of a relief that will allow current students and students who have graduated in the last few years to reassess their financial situation,” said Davida L. Haywood, vice president of student affairs and inscriptions of Johnson C. Smith. management. “No matter where you are on the political spectrum, it was a day when some people could breathe deeply, [where] they felt a little burden lifted from their shoulders.
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The student loan burden is particularly acute at historically black colleges and universities, known as “HBCUs.” A United Negro College Fund report found that HBCU graduates were four times more likely to borrow $40,000 or more than non-HBCU graduates. He explained, “In part, HBCU students borrow more than non-HBCU students because African-American families typically have lower assets and incomes that limit their ability to contribute to college expenses.”
There are over 100 HBCUs nationwide, with most located in the South. North Carolina has four of the Big 15.
This week, the Biden administration released details of a plan to eliminate $10,000 in federal student loans for borrowers earning less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for couples). Up to $20,000 could be forgiven for those whose income is low enough to have received Pell grants.
Controversial idea: The plan aims to ease the debt burden of most of the roughly 40 million Americans who have student loan balances. Critics say the plan, which is expected to cost at least $300 billion, is unfair to people who don’t have college loans or who have already paid them off, as well as parents and students who have saved money. money to avoid debt. Loan forgiveness could also increase inflation and may not be legal.
Haywood of Johnson C. Smith says she advises students to apply for scholarships first and then take out loans as a “last resort.” She said colleges still have a responsibility to educate their students in financial literature. The university has 1,200 students and undergraduate tuition is just under $20,000 per year.
Student Response: On Thursday, inside Johnson C. Smith’s Biddle Memorial Hall, students discussed how the new program will relieve the stress of student debt and allow them to enjoy their time as students.
Jayla DeBoles, a JCSU senior, transferred from a community college and arrived without a student loan. But to attend JSCU, she had to take out $7,500 in student loans last year alone. She said she was happy to get out of the “rabbit hole” of debt.
“I commend Biden for taking steps to help everyone be a little more free in this world where debt is literally like a shackle on your ankle,” DeBoles said. “So being able to be free of that just makes me happy. I know my mom is grateful for that, and in fact, she’s currently a student here at (Johnson C.) Smith. Now that she has one less thing to worry, it relieves her to help me so that I can help my little sister.
Steven Sullivan, a sophomore at JCSU, said before the announcement he was worried about paying off his loans and making ends meet.
“It affected me mentally because now you have to think about it like, ‘Okay, how am I supposed to pay for this if I’m struggling to make ends meet at the end of the day?'” he said. -he declares.
“And like now, if I’m a student and I have to help my parents and take care of my siblings, especially in the black community where most of us are raised to take care of our siblings and take housekeeping,” Sullivan said, “someone who is genuinely willing to help all students in general – regardless of ethnicity, color, race, gender – we should be able to applaud each other. “
➡️ Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Details: Who’s Eligible, How It Works (Washington Post)