Get educated on student loan forgiveness

President Joe Biden signed the Student Loan Forgiveness Act last month, which will forgive up to $10,000 on federal loans prior to June 30, 2022, and up to $20,000 for students who received Pell Grants. 

The act applies to individuals who borrowed federal loans prior to June 30, 2022. Loans for the current semester and spring semester are not covered with this act. Private student loans are not eligible; the act applies only to federal loans.

Assistant Director of Financial Aid Rachel Sherlock said Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Financial Aid Office was thrilled for students following the news of the act and immediately took action.

“We are over the moon for students. We certainly made sure on our social media pages to send out that information. We created [a page on] the MSU website to get that information out to students to make them aware that this occurred,” Sherlock said. 

After graduation, student loan payments can become stressful. Nontraditional student Kylie Komaridis was doubtful upon hearing the news, but is now grateful for the money that will be taken off her loans.

“There’s been so much hype about student loan forgiveness, and if it fits [certain criteria.] It was ‘I’ll believe it when I see it,’” Komaridis said. “When I realized that I should be eligible for it, I was very happy about it because I have a lot of loans and I’m out $80,000 now.” 

As a single mother raising two children, having the student loan relief is a huge weight off of Komaridis’ shoulders.

“[I’m] raising children, trying to work, trying to live. [Student loans] don’t fit into trying to raise a family. I don’t know how people pay off student loans unless they are very small or recent loans that don’t have time to accumulate interest,” Komaridis said.

When the news was announced, Komaridis said she noticed some people spreading negativity about the act and how unfair it was. Komaridis said that she doesn’t view the act as something negative, but as an opportunity. 

“I hate to say it, but life is unfair. I can see it helping people to become more independent such as students who had to move back in with their parents. There’s so many bonuses to bettering a person by helping them out with this,” Komaridis said.

Getting educated early is important in understanding what options and payment plans work best. Komaridis said her involvement with financial aid has evolved from when she started college and how resources are more readily available. 

“With today’s technology, there’s all that information out there to understand. Look at those [resources] and find out what you’re really doing,” Komaridis said. “It still means reading the fine print, but there wasn’t this education. It was just ‘Here’s your money,’ and you didn’t know what that meant.”

A concern Sherlock wants students to be aware of is the rise of predatory companies reaching out to students to get their personal information following large financial acts. 

“Make sure to not give your information to third-party individuals and contact your loan servicer directly. If someone is calling you directly, do not give them your personal information,” Sherlock said.

Sherlock said that one of the best things students can do is contact their loan servicer and build that relationship early on to ensure good communication about payment plans post-graduation.

“While students are in school, the financial aid office and the campus hub are the primary contacts that help you while you’re in school, but once you graduate, that relationship with your loan servicer is really important because they’re the ones you’re making payments Establishing that relationship is a really good opportunity for students,” Sherlock said.

For any additional questions about the eligibility for loans, students are encouraged to check out MSU’s financial page (https://www.mnsu.edu/university-life/campus-services/campushub/financial-aid/student-debt-relief/) and the U.S. Department of Education (https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/) for more updates.

Write to Emma Johnson at emma.johnson.5@mnsu.edu

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