By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today welcomed President Biden's plan to bring student debt relief to millions of lower and middle-income Americans, including thousands on Guam.
"This latest initiative will further increase the financial security of many local households and families, and ultimately strengthens our road to recovery," the governor said.
She said she has instructed the Government of Guam Relief Center to work closely with the U.S. Department of Education and make the necessary preparations to provide immediate assistance to borrowers who qualify for student debt relief.
Biden on Wednesday announced a plan to forgive $10,000 in debt for those earning less than $125,000 per year and $20,000 for those who had received Pell grants for low-income families.
“All of this means people can start finally to climb out from under that mountain of debt,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. “To finally think about buying a home or starting a family or starting a business. And by the way, when this happens, the whole economy is better off.”
According to College Factual's website, 21 percent of undergraduate students at the University of Guam utilize federal student loans to help pay for their college education, averaging $5,256 per year.
"Borrowing the average amount will result in loans of $10,512 after two years and $21,024 after four," the website says. "These numbers are based on borrowing the same amount each year and do not include any loans where the parent is the borrower, even though Parent PLUS loans are frequently included in financial aid packages."
According to College Factual, a total of 608 UOG students entered loan repayment in 2016. After three years, 24.2 percent of these students (80 out of 608) defaulted on their loans.
“The skyrocketing cumulative federal student loan debt is a significant burden for many who struggle with high monthly payments and ballooning balances that make it harder for them to buy homes, build retirement funds, and start small businesses,” Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said.
"For too many college graduates, the cost of borrowing loans for school is a lifelong burden that has deprived them of gainful opportunities. The Student Debt Relief Plan will empower our community and bolster our economic progress," he added.