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Reacting to the new Biden administration student loan handout plan — which has elicited an array of comments — one New Jersey human resources professional who paid off over $30,000 of student loan debt by scrimping and saving for years told Fox News Digital, “A loan is a loan.”
“I didn’t count on the government or anyone else to pay that money back for me,” she also said.
President Biden last week announced a student loan handout program that essentially will use taxpayer money to pay off up to $10,000 of student debt per borrower for those making less than $125,000 per year.
The plan will cancel up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, too — while extending the pause on federal student loan payments through the end of this year.
The total cost of the loan handouts will amount to $500 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. The nation’s federal student debt now tops $1.6 trillion after ballooning for years — while the national debt, according to the Treasury Department, is currently at $30.7 trillion.
‘A loan is a loan’
“I am no economics or financial person — I am a public citizen,” said Alysandra, who works in human resources in N.J. (she did not want her last name used).
“But in my view, a loan is a loan,” she said in a phone interview.
Once she took on student loan debt, she said, “it was my financial responsibility to pay that money back. That’s how I looked at it.”
She added, “I didn’t count on the government or anyone else to pay that money back for me. It was my personal responsibility and my financial responsibility to pay it off,” she said, “and I did what I had to do to pay if off.”
“In my opinion, this is a short-term Band-Aid leading up to the November elections.”
For her, that included living at home with her family after she graduated from college and began full-time work, she said. She is still living at home, she told Fox News Digital.
“Honestly, it looks like to me — after I did the responsible thing and worked hard to pay it off — that today [with the handout plan], people are getting rewarded for doing the least amount,” she said.
She explained that she “wasn’t paying the minimum amount” on her loan repayments.
“I was paying way over the minimum amount” in order to get her debt paid off, she said. “I saw what the interest rates were, and I did a breakdown” — and she was determined to pay down her debt as quickly as possible, she said.
“Again, a loan is a loan, no matter what it is,” said Alysandra. “You have to pay that back.”
She said she sees that “this loan forgiveness plan is helping people during this period of time. But it’s just a Band-Aid. If you think about it, kids everywhere who are starting their semesters of college will still have debt. They’re going to have that debt regardless” of the Biden forgiveness handout, she said.
Instead of the handout, she wondered, “Why don’t they just lower college tuition and costs?”
Right now, she said, “certain people are having $10,000 forgiven. Others are getting $20,000 forgiven. Yet, instead of this Band-Aid, why don’t they systematically fix the problem of high college costs?”
“What would be the difference in forgiving this $10,000 now — or lowering the cost of tuition by $10,000?” she said.
She explained that she borrowed over $30,000 for her college costs, which she has now paid back in full.
“When I was first hired out of college, I was making under $50,000 a year,” she said.
“So that salary, plus the financial steps I had to take to pay that loan back — I cut down on whatever extracurriculars I didn’t need. I still live at home. And now I’m able to save, because I paid that debt off in about three years, while still paying my other bills.”
She added, “It was hard. It was really hard to do. But I was taught that a loan is a loan. You pay it back.”
For those looking to get a college education, she added, “you may not know what the interest rate is going to be once you’re in college or what it will be — but regardless, once you take out a loan, you have to pay that back.”
“Mary and I sure were a couple of suckers … We saved and did without so that we could send our two kids to college without them having to graduate with debt.”
“I’m glad that this whole thing is providing some people with short-term relief, but what is this going to do for the overall problem?” she added. “What is the long-term solution?”
“In my opinion, this is a short-term Band-Aid leading up to the November elections — and then by the end of the year,” she added, “the freeze [in terms of repayment of loans] is going to be ending.”
“So while I hope this helps people, we can’t forget what’s going to happen in the long run.”
She noted that the student loan handout plan of either $10,000 or $20,000 as a one-time forgiveness plan “may not even be a scratch for some people.”
She also said she’s been wondering, “Has this action been thought through fully?”
When the student loan repayment freeze was first put into place during the COVID pandemic, she said, “that was awesome, that was great — but they also indicated the freeze would soon come to an end, so that created even more urgency for me to keep paying off my loan.”
“And then it kept being extended,” she said about of the repayment freeze. “And overall I think that was just very chaotic.”
“That was unsettling — so I decided that what was best for me was to just pay it off.”
“Now look at where we are. People are getting relief.”
“Now I’m done with it, it was an accomplishment and I’m proud of it,” Alysandra said of her repayment of debt. “And now look at where we are. People are getting relief.”
She also referenced the possibility of a refund for people who did keep paying off their loans.
“I’m hoping that money does get refunded to those people — that they [the government] are going to follow through on what they say. Those people were diligent and adamant about continuing to pay down their debt and kept going with it.”
For her, she emphasized, “there was no expectation that someone was going to pay off this loan for me. I couldn’t sit well with the idea of someone else paying this off for me, so I did what I had to do.”
‘A couple of suckers’
Another individual in New Jersey, Bob Bostock, who is married with two grown kids, wrote on Facebook of the student loan handout, “Well, Mary and I sure were a couple of suckers.”
He went on, “We saved and did without so that we could send our two kids to college without them having to graduate with debt.”
“Biden’s unconstitutional decision to shift college debt to taxpayers is an outrageous slap in the face to those who met their obligations as well as those who didn’t go to college.”
He added, “Even with [a son] in NROTC [Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps] and both kids winning merit-based scholarships, we laid out a great deal of money. Biden’s unconstitutional decision to shift college debt to taxpayers is an outrageous slap in the face to those who met their obligations as well as those who didn’t go to college.”
Bostock’s social media comments elicited strong reaction from those on both sides of the issue.
Some people replied on Facebook that they “wholeheartedly” agreed with him and that the handout plan is “absolutely insane.”
Others chimed in with, “College is too expensive … Those of us who could avoid the long-term drain resulting from the college cost/loan cost are blessed — and helping people get out from under benefits everyone.”
‘A measure of relief — I love it’
Yet another person who fully paid off her own large debt had her own personal view of the Biden administration’s student loan handout plan.
Amanda Page, an Ohio writer and an associate professor at a nursing college, told Fox News Digital in an email a few days ago, “It means that I get to see friends and colleagues who have struggled under the weight of student loan debt experience a measure of relief — and I love it.”
She added, “I really believe that measures taken to control the way interest is calculated will have a profound effect on borrowers.”
“I also believe that the relief that many are feeling now will have a tremendous positive effect on the economy — because people will now have an ounce of disposable income to spend,” she said.
Page paid off $48,000 in student loan debt over a 14-month period.
To be able to do that, she held multiple jobs, she said. She did freelance writing, took temporary jobs at front desks, taught courses at three separate colleges and graded math tests in her spare time, she told Fox News Digital.
She also sold items on Craigslist.
In addition, Page trimmed down her costs by living with a roommate and driving her paid-off 2002 Honda CR-V.
She also chose to not have children, she said.
Angelica Stabile of Fox News Digital contributed reporting to this article.