ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The student debt crisis in the United States stands at $ 1.7 trillion. Some students in upstate New York are struggling to go to college and be in debt thousands of dollars years later and have said that canceling student debt will help immensely.
Shanae Bell is one month away from graduating from Monroe Community College as an Associate. She started at MCC 10 years after graduating from high school. Bell has two children and works part-time, but has racked up courses to complete his degree in two and a half years.
She was accepted into the social work program at Nazareth College, a school she always dreamed of attending.
Bell said she would receive financial assistance, but still had to pay out of pocket or take out loans. She said she applied for scholarships, but many are for high school students or 2 + 2 programs, which would have required her to complete her associate’s degree in two years.
“I tried to keep applying and keep that better foot forward,” said Bell. “I feel like it’s the pressure behind my head to be in debt and worrying about where I get the extra money.”
Bell is not alone in these concerns. The student debt crisis in the United States currently stands at over $ 1.7 trillion. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer continues to pressure President Joe Biden to forgive each student’s $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt.
President Biden has made it clear that he is not supporting the cancellation of $ 50,000 per student, but is supporting $ 10,000.
Sarah Johnston is Deputy Director of the Rochester Education Foundation and helps students navigate the financial side of college.
“The cancellation of student debt would be a huge help. This is a huge barrier for students, especially students from low-income backgrounds, ”said Johnston.
Bell said it was frustrating to be accepted into the school of your dreams, but to have to fear that she would be weakened by debt decades from now. She said canceling student debt would ease that burden.
“Imagine working so hard to be at Yale or St. John Fisher and you can make it happen by being the student you’re up against because I have the money, I can make it,” Bell said.
She has yet to officially commit to Nazareth, but has said she is 95% sure to do so.
“People ask me all the time, ‘have you thought of anything else, have you looked at another school’, it’s like ‘no’. This is where I want to be, this is where I know I have a good social work program, this is my dream for me.
Schumer said last month that the Justice Department is currently conducting a legal review to determine whether President Biden has the authority to issue a comprehensive student debt remission.
Bell has created a GoFundMe for college expenses, and encourages anyone with scholarship ideas to reach out.