September 1 – Following a controversial new program proposed by President Joe Biden, those with college loan debt can see up to $20,000 forgiven of their total balance. Students at Somerset Community College are no exception to this program, and many have already taken advantage of it.
CSC CEO and President Dr. Carey Castle is optimistic about the program.
“That’s good for students, if that’s what they’re looking for. And who wouldn’t want to be after that?” said Dr. Castle.
Dr. Castle, however, had some reservations about the program and questioned its usefulness.
“I’m a bit on the fence with this one, because our students are grown-ups — grown-up people who know what they want to do. They probably know very well what they’re getting into,” Dr. Castle. “So I think for most of them it’s just luck for them. I’m not sure it’s always an easy answer for them, but if it was available I would expect that let them take it.”
Dr Castle noted, however, that the program has yet to fully take effect and its impact on students will not be fully known for some time.
“Because it’s still a bit up in the air, we don’t know much or really what our students are thinking at this point. I think a lot of them are waiting to see what happens next.” , said Dr. Castle. “Among our students last year, we had about 405 students who received loans that would be eligible for this program.”
Dr. Castle was correct that CSC students were still unsure of the benefits of loan forgiveness, and many had different opinions about the success of loan forgiveness.
Bryan Whitson, a mentor and student at SCC, was able to avoid taking out loans by taking dual credit courses during his high school years. He noted that he might have to take out loans if he decided to pursue a 4-year college education after CSC.
Whitson liked the idea of the program but was unsure of the program’s qualifications.
Says Whitson, “I would definitely say the qualifications for it were a little loose. They gave it a little too freely. I really think it’s a resource that should be used and forgiven those in need, but I feel like they give it a bit sparingly.”
Courtney Brett, a first-year nursing student, said she could use the program when her loan debt continues to grow. She described herself as grateful and relieved by the option.
Nursing student Alex Muse echoed that sentiment and estimated that around half of the couple’s nursing cohort had some amount of government loan.
Unlike her friend, Muse was not eligible for loan forgiveness. Although neutral about the non-cancellation of her loans, she was concerned about the fairness of the program.
“I mean, I don’t care anyway, I mean I’m the one doing the loans in the first place, so I don’t mind,” Muse said. “I just don’t think it’s fair for other people to make amends, and some don’t.”
Freshman Diane was grateful not for her own debt forgiveness, but rather on behalf of her mother.
“I just started my college journey. I have about $5,000 in student loans, but my mom owed $17,000 in student loans and now I think she owes $5,000,” she said. declared.
Diane, however, echoed Muse’s sentiment regarding the qualifications for forgiveness.
“I would say [the loan forgiveness program] is a kind of neutral. Not everyone benefits from it. But it was good for my mom!” she laughed.
Ultimately, the students and Dr. Castle agreed that the loan forgiveness was beneficial for some, but whether the program will really help CSC students with college expenses remains to be seen.