Student loans

San Diego students react to Biden saying community colleges are ‘America’s best kept secret’

President Joe Biden called community colleges America’s best-kept secret in his State of the Union address.

He did not mention the forgiveness of student loans, which is an election promise. School finances were on the minds of San Diego Mesa College students Wednesday as they returned to campus for their reorientation.

Alberto Lizarraga is in his second semester with hopes of one day entering medical school.

“I’m all for canceling student loans,” he said. “These student loans actually put a strain on a student’s life, which can affect how well they can succeed academically. So it would definitely relieve me of a lot of pressure and make me feel more supported.

RELATED: Locals React to State of the Union Address

Injae Wi immigrated from South Korea three years ago. He is taking courses in physiology, ethics, and sociology this semester at Mesa College.

“I would like to be a nurse working in a hospital,” Wi said. He depends on financial aid and a student loan.

“I have a part-time job to pay for my studies and my bills,” Wi continued. “So forgiving my loans would really help me focus on school.”

Redirections are taking place at all schools in the San Diego Community College district this week.

Two years of mostly online learning has brought challenges and some changes that are helpful to keep going.

One of the most cost-effective changes, according to District Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez “We’ve seen literally thousands of faculty members emptying their textbooks over the past two years,” he said, ” they have adopted online textbooks for free.This is a major change in the economic security of students when enrolled in school.

Grace Speiecher is in her second semester at Mesa College. Wednesday was only his third time on campus. Although she remains undecided about a major, she is interested in a career in speech therapy.

Speiecher braces for financial responsibility and wants loan forgiveness relief. “The financial burden will increase and so having an option, I would feel less stressed and have the freedom to take other courses that I want to take. I wouldn’t feel restricted,” she said.

President Biden has called for increased Pell Grants and support for historically black colleges and universities.

“It is the difficult times that make us stronger. So I think some of the positive outcomes of COVID will be the resilience that our students have developed over the past two years,” Turner Cortez said.