(The Center Square) — Nearly 700,000 student borrowers in Washington are eligible for loan forgiveness, but experts are divided on whether the president’s plan is beneficial for all Washingtonians.
President Joe Biden announced his administration’s plan to give student borrowers across the United States up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to other borrowers .
The estimated number of borrowers eligible for loan forgiveness in Washington State is 697,600. The White House has estimated that 323,900 borrowers in Washington are eligible for full student loan forgiveness.
Of Washington’s 7.73 million residents, according to the latest census figures, White House figures represent 9.01% of the state’s population.
Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Center, believes the program is doing more harm than good to borrowers in Washington.
“President Biden is creating a special class of people who don’t have to repay their loans,” Finne told The Center Square in an email. “Biden likes to talk about fairness, but it’s one of the most inequitable actions of any administration.”
Finne added that many low- and middle-income Washingtonians don’t have student loans, but have business loans, credit card debt, auto loans and mortgages that they need to pay off.
“Yet college students are having their loans repaid by people who didn’t go to college. It is an unfair and inequitable policy and probably illegal,” Finne said.
Andrew Villeneuve, the founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute, believes the Biden-Harris administration’s loan forgiveness program benefits everyone. He would like to see a further step towards free tuition for all students in the future.
“Any American who wants to go to college should be able to do so, regardless of family wealth or the type of access to money they have,” Villeneuve told The Center Square in an email. . “A country as advanced and wealthy as the United States has the means to provide a college education to anyone who wants it…and we must.
The North West Progressive Institute polled Washington residents last winter. The survey revealed that a majority of participants support the cancellation of all student loan debt. Nearly seven in ten of the youngest surveyors voted in favor of loan forgiveness.
“These millennial and Gen Z voters are the future of our country and our democracy, but they haven’t received the support and opportunities they need to thrive in America from their elected representatives.” , added Villeneuve.
Student loan repayments are expected to resume in January 2023.