Student loans complicate future college plans


College in the modern days is expensive. Students who want to continue on in their post high school education sometimes have to take out student loans.

President Joe Biden has enacted one-time student loan forgiveness through executive order. This is a government initiative that relieves borrowers of $10,000- $20,000 in student loan debt, if borrowers qualify under certain criteria. While this doesn’t apply for high school students just yet, they are still able to see the process.

While high school students are not yet eligible to receive aid, they are able to learn how the loan process works, as many students will be going to college and deserve to get help if they need it. School counselors will help guide students on the right path when it comes to post high-school education.

“Since 1980, the total cost of four-year public and private college has nearly tripled. Current college students and borrowers who have federally held undergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUS loans that were distributed on or before June 30, 2022 are eligible for the forgiveness. So, current high school students aren’t necessarily eligible now, but if the act is extended perhaps they could be,”said school counselor Kevin Ball.

The Student Loan Forgiveness executive order was announced in August 2022, and the application process is expected to end December 31, 2023. Loans that are being forgiven are many federally-held loans, including Direct Loans and Parent PLUS loans. For borrowers to receive aid, the borrower’s income must be below $125,000 or $250,000 for married couples or heads of the households. To receive student loan forgiveness, borrowers must complete a short online application from the US Department of Education, which will be available in early October.

“The State of Illinois has many programs and services that deliver financial aid assistance to students in Illinois. At GNHS we work closely with an organization called ISAC, which provides Illinois students with information and assistance to help make education beyond high school accessible and affordable,” Ball said.

Most of the time when student loans are taken out, the borrower’s parents might take out a Parent PLUS loan. This is because most of the time the student borrower isn’t given the full amount of money that they need. So two loans are taken out yearly. Besides this student loan initiative, there are other loan forgiveness opportunities too, borrowers just have to look for them.

“Definitely find out more about it. Definitely look into the different kinds of loan forgiveness because there’s many different kinds out there that a person may qualify for,” said school psychologist Dawn Deacon.

As the process is long, students and future borrowers are advised to get as much help as they can. Students are also encouraged to talk to the school’s officials to get a better understanding.

“Talk to parents and guardians to make sure everyone is on the same page at the onset of the post-secondary planning. Also, I encourage students to take advantage of the resources we have at North including counselors, Mrs. Applehans in the College and Career Center, our ISAC and CLC partners. This can be a long, confusing decision making process, but we can and want to help,” Ball said.