Student Loans in a Changing Economy – The Daily Utah Chronicle


Student loans recently sparked controversy in Congress and across the country as Democrats demand cancellation of student loan debt of up to $ 50,000, while Republicans oppose the cancellation.

Top Democrats in Congress have claimed it will narrow the wage gap between racial groups. On February 17, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted “It would help close the racial wealth gap and give families and our economy a big boost.” Democrats say President Joe Biden has the executive power to write off student debt without congressional approval. Washington post.

Republicans clash with Democrats, saying student debt cancellation is a poorly targeted move. They claim that those who hold most of the student loan debt in the United States are professionals, which exacerbates any existing wage gap. They also claim that only a small fraction of the adult population in the United States has student loan debt while many others have already paid off their debts and / or could not afford or attend college. This raises the question for those who have paid off their student debt or have never had any debt whether they will also receive a payment from the federal government.

“Rather than jump straight to the cancellation of student debt, which creates moral hazard for current and future student borrowers and is poorly targeted, Congress and the administration should do a better job of educating borrowers about the options.” available to make affordable payments, while simplifying options. to eliminate the confusion, ”wrote Senator Bill Cassidy in a editorial for Fox News.
When asked if students were aware of the financial aid options available to them outside of student loans, Elizabeth Adkinson, a financial aid advisor at the University of Utah, said she noticed that low-income populations were unaware of the scholarships and financial aid available to them. “It’s a huge challenge to get the word out to those who desperately need it, but we are doing our part to get the information out,” Adkinson said.

There are many options for students when seeking financial aid. First, a student can complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application, or FAFSA. This application provided by the federal government will determine a student’s eligibility for federal student assistance in the form of loans, grants, co-op and / or scholarships. The assistance provided by FAFSA is based primarily on the financial need of the student, as well as the cost of attending college.

The U financial aid office offers information on alternative student loans on its website. These loans are financed by the private sector and can be offered by banks, credit unions and other lending institutions to meet the financing needs of students. According to their website, “We encourage students to borrow these loans only as a last resort after completing the FAFSA and exhausting all sources of federal financial aid (Pell Grant, Stafford Loan, etc.). The University of Utah does not approve any lender, and you can choose any lender you want.

Some of U’s financial aid options must be repaid, such as loans, while others are considered a reward, such as grants and scholarships. The U also offers students many financial aid options, such as merit scholarships.

For prospective students and incoming freshmen, the U offers a control List describing each option available to students when considering financial aid. “We need to go out into the community regularly at all high schools to do awareness raising presentations and FAFSA nights,” Adkinson said.

In addition, the U financial aid office does community outreach through local Utah high schools. “We have to contact them so that they can get the information,” Adkinson said.

Scholarships also exist outside of what is offered in the United States. “I spent a whole summer applying for scholarships online and most of them were nationally based,” said Natalie Smith, a local Utah resident. “Because they were at the national level, it was almost impossible to get these scholarships due to the competition among all the applicants.”

Companies like UPS, Chipotle, and Home Depot offer tuition incentive programs to employees when they work for the company. Smith said it was easier to get scholarships offered by businesses and organizations in the local community. “There are so many scholarships out there, you just have to be prepared to look for them,” Smith said.


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