Joseph Wood is the president and CEO of INvestEd. (photo provided)

Now that President Biden’s long-awaited announcement on student loan forgiveness has been made, our team is fielding calls from students and families across the state. They want to know exactly what the announcement means for them, any next steps they must take, how to manage remaining debt balances, and how to best fund their education moving forward.

Their questions are important because the average Hoosier with student loans owes around $30,000. Those who qualify for the newly announced loan forgiveness will receive up to $10,000 in debt cancellation with an additional $10,000 if they were a Pell Grant recipient. But many Hoosiers will continue to carry student loan debt, and they want to manage those balances in the best way possible.

As Indiana’s leading non-profit, financial-aid-advising organization, our advice to students and families is to take three key actions now:

  • Make sure to understand any obligations to qualify for the forgiveness.
  • Do a student loan checkup to review all remaining student loans and the rates on unpaid balances. Some Hoosiers are paying rates over 12% when they are often eligible for much lower rates.
  • Seek out free and unbiased resources to explain how to best fund education beyond high school moving forward.

To help Hoosiers avoid taking on unnecessary student loan debt in the future, we encourage everyone to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and review all grants – Pell, Indiana-provided O’Bannon and 21st Century Scholars, for which Hoosiers may qualify. In addition, we encourage everyone to explore the institutional scholarships and other monies available directly through colleges and universities.

While student loan forgiveness will cancel some debt, student loan balances will remain a concern for many students and families across Indiana. In fact, our survey of more than 1,700 Indiana residents earlier this year found that 76 percent of Hoosiers were concerned about the amount of student loan debt held by college graduates. We can help them and the 59% of Hoosiers who said it’s not easy to understand the full process of paying for college.

We believe people can absolutely fund education beyond high school affordably. The key is understanding which options are available to remove financial barriers and allow them to pursue the education beyond high school that will help them achieve their desired career path.

Our organization is the statutorily designated nonprofit, financial aid advising and student loan organization in Indiana, one of 22 across the country. We exist to help Hoosier families understand education costs and how to fund it with the least debt. To contact us, call 317-715-9015 or go to www.investedindiana.org.

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