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Poll: Temple students owe approximately $24,000 in student loan debt

One hundred and forty-six students at Temple were surveyed on their student loan situation.

Temple University students owe approximately $24,000 in student debt, according to a survey conducted by The Temple News. The figure is slightly less than the national average, which hovers around $29,000. 

Roughly 59 percent of Temple University students qualify for President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan. Thirty-five percent of students who are eligible are paying for college themselves and 25 percent receive help from their parents or scholarships. Forty-one percent of students don’t qualify for the relief at all. 

“So far I’ve borrowed $10,000-$20,000, but it’s going to be that much more for each next year and who knows how much for grad school,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. 

A total of 146 Temple students participated in the Temple News Student debt survey. 

Biden announced his plans to forgive some federal student debt for college students across the United States on Aug. 24. People who meet the requirements can receive $10,000 in relief, while individuals who have a Pell Grant can qualify for $20,000 in loan forgiveness. To be eligible for the relief, recipients must have an individual income of $125,000 or less, or a household income of less than $250,000. 

The application for the program will become available this month and must be completed by Dec. 31, 2023.  

For many students, debt relief could mean entering the workforce with a reduced financial burden. But for some, the loan forgiveness program might not be enough.  

Anike Mosaku, a junior environmental studies major, is thankful for the debt relief but recognizes that students may still struggle to afford a college education. 

“For me personally, it is enough because I have enough in scholarships that it covers it, but I know a lot of people that have way more debt than that so I think it should at least be like 40,000 to 50,000,” Mosaku said. 

For almost every school or college at Temple, the average debt per student within that college is either extremely close to or above the average tuition rate per year for their respective college. This means students will graduate with debt at or near the exact price of their college tuition. Along with the increased price of college tuition, most students also factor housing, food and school supplies into their cost to attend Temple.  

“It’s concerning that this is my second year at Temple (I went to community college freshman year) and I’m already $56k in debt, as I plan to attend PA school after graduating from Temple,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. “I hope schools nationwide are able to figure out a way to make earning a degree more affordable.”  

Twenty-four percent of student respondents receive a Pell Grant and meet the requirements for Biden’s debt relief plan, while 35 percent of students qualify for relief and do not have a Pell Grant. 

Overall, 41 percent of students do not qualify for Biden’s debt relief efforts because they or their guardians likely earn more than the maximum amount required to be considered for the program.  

“I feel extremely strongly about canceling student debt,” wrote an anonymous student who responded to the survey. “I pay for college myself with no help from my parents but because my parents make just enough money and the government thinks they pay for my college I don’t get any grants or financial aid at all.” 

With Biden’s plan set to take effect this month, Temple students should check with their federal loan servicing company to see if they are eligible and get their applications in as soon as possible.