LUBBOCK, Texas — Minority students at Texas Tech expressed concern Monday after hearing about the Biden administration’s plans to provide $10,000 in relief to all federal borrowers.
First reported in the May 27 Washington Post, the plans come “after months of internal deliberations about how to structure loan forgiveness for tens of millions of Americans” with a steadily rising $1.6 trillion in student debt. dollars nationwide.
The article says Biden’s announcement was put on hold following the Uvalde shooting, giving advocates more time to critique the plans.
A few minority students attending Texas Tech declined to comment on the case, but junior Bethany Justice did.
“I went to community college for two years trying to save, and then when I finally landed on Tech, I realized I was never going to be able to save enough to get here debt-free,” Justice said. “I was so depressed.”
She said many minorities, including herself, needed more relief than Biden’s plan would provide.
Without additional support, minority students EverythingLubbock.com spoke to said they feared having to put their life dreams on hold, such as starting a family.
“I kind of gave up on the idea that I could afford a house. I just sort of accepted that…if I want to be a therapist,” Justice shared, adding that this is a problem some white borrowers may never face.
The socioeconomic disparities she spoke of are real, with the average Texan owing about $33,000 in student loan debt, according to the Student Borrower Protection Center in 2020. Minority borrowers on average owe about $8,000 more than Texans whites, explained the center.
To add to these findings, a 2019 Dallas News article reported“The public institutions with the highest student debt averages in Texas were those with the highest rates of black and Latino student enrollment.”
Justice is ineligible for some major federal student aid programs like FASFA, and said that because she is Latina, she has had difficulty obtaining private loans.
“You almost have to prove you’re Hispanic to get them. It’s a lot harder than people think,” she explained.
Already $17,000 in student debt, Justice said her career goals require graduate school.
Her family stepped in to help and are working harder than ever, she said.
“Luckily my brother doesn’t want to go to college or we could be royally screwed,” Justice joked.
Texas “holds the second highest student loan debt in the nation, now totaling more than $101 billion,” according to a 2019 report report.
The same report highlighted solutions including: “increased and inclusive investments in higher education, such as federal and state partnerships that reduce the cost of college education for students, apprenticeship programs and equitable workplace learning and financial assistance based on need”.
Justice said there are other courses of action to consider to help minorities like her get out of and even prevent student loan debt.
“Maybe a higher minimum wage…maybe [make] the cheaper college…maybe we reduce the interest – like having a cap or something. I think there are ways to uplift people [while] reduce the debt and end up somewhere in the middle,” she said hopefully.
Several organizations recognize the need for help and contribute scholarships, grants, and programs that help pay off student loan debt or forgive loans.
Here are some resources: