'Helps for our future': College students and graduates react to federal loan relief program – WPBF West Palm Beach


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Relief: that’s what many college graduates said they felt when they heard they may be eligible for the federal student loan relief program.
“People like me that didn’t get a lot of scholarships to go to the colleges, we had to take out those loans. But, having something like this definitely helps for our future for sure,” said Franklin Diaz, who attended Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Diaz said he is now a real estate investor and is paying off about $11,000 in student loans.
“I went there for music, and I studied there for two years. And I graduated from somewhere else because it was a little bit too expensive,” Diaz said.
What To Know: Here’s who qualifies for Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan
“Definitely was a heavy load… thinking about, ‘I have a car I have to finish paying off, too.’ So, I wanted to focus on that,” said Sophia Secrest, a senior at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
She said she has about $21,000 to $22,000 left in student loans and plans to graduate in December.
After completing her internship with an organization that works with refugees, the intercultural studies major said it has inspired her to move to Atlanta and pursue a career there.
“Possibly doing social work type things, it doesn’t make a ton of money, so that would be helpful having the forgiveness,” Secrest said.
Video below: Hear more student reactions

Former student loans officer and certified public accountant Mark Parks said he’s witnessed firsthand the hardships that come with mounting student debt.
“It can impact your credit, it can impact your life and it can be devastating – I’ve seen that,” Parks said.
For The Country: What Biden’s student debt plan will do to the U.S. economy
He said he thinks it will help the economy grow.
“All of a sudden you freed these people up with money, so that’s going to impact the economy because they are going to be able to go out there and spend,” Parks said
Video below: Public accountant Mark Parks discusses the impacts of student debt
While many are relieved, some economic experts say this program could have unintentional consequences.
“The impact is on the market, and I think that’s the message is, ‘how this policy will affect the funding market or the financing market of college education?'” said Amir Neto, the director of Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University. “How colleges will react to this, are we going to see changes in tuition costs?”
Experts predict this will also have an impact on the private loan market.
“Instead of taking in private loans, they may try to go and get public loans instead of private loans. At that point, that makes that market of private loans more not as profitable for businesses to be participating in that,” Neto said. “As we decrease the supply of loans, available loans for students on that private market, then we could see an increase on interest rates on those markets. So, there can be a spillover effect from this type of program to the private loan market.”

For residents like Jeremy McQuinn, he said the program lifts some weight off his shoulders.
He said he has about $27,000 left in student debt from his exercise science bachelor’s degree at Liberty University.
McQuinn said he worked a variety of jobs unrelated to his degree and completed an internship pertaining to his studies in Maine.
“Since then, I haven’t really been actively using it, so this debt has kind of just been where it’s at for a while. I’ve paid it off but there’s so much interest that it’s kind of like the same rate.” McQuinn said. “This actually makes me want to maybe pay even more of it off, it’s kind a boost so that if it gets low enough, I could probably knock it off in far less time.
WPBF 25 News reached out to local colleges and universities for their response. A spokesperson sent a statement from Chancellor Arthur Keiser of Keiser University below.

“Keiser University understands that student loan debt is an important issue and is sensitive to how it impacts graduates. Today’s announcement will provide short-term benefits to students and their families who have struggled during the aftermath of the pandemic. However, it’s difficult to understand its impact on the future of student lending which provides many students a pathway to the American Dream. We look forward to working with the Department of Education and lawmakers to develop future solutions that assist low-income student borrowers and protect taxpayers.”
WPBF 25 News reached out to the Florida Department of Education for a statement and has yet heard back.
Next Steps: Here’s what you should do if you qualify for student loan forgiveness under Biden’s plan
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