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‘Great impact’: Alabama Commission on Higher Education head lauds student loan forgiveness

According to some Alabama education leaders, President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program will be good news for the Yellowhammer State.

Alabama Commission on Higher Education notes that 51% of in-state graduates have student loan debt, and close to 315,000 borrowers in Alabama will qualify for some debt relief. The average amount of student loan debt owed in the state is about $36,000 per person.

Jim Purcell, executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, recently told WSFA News 12 in Montgomery that the debt relief will be good news for Alabama’s economy.

“We do believe this will have a great impact for Alabama,” Purcell said. “Not only for the individual, but for our economy. These individuals would no longer have to pay that obligation and perhaps would be looking for other things to spend it on.”

The commission director also highlighted how the debt burden really affects individuals and families across the state.

“We know that over a lifetime there is $1 million between somebody with a high school diploma and a bachelor’s.” he explained. “But the problem is if you have all this debt and you’re paying that off for 10 or 20 years, it really does impact your ability to do the things you really want to do when you become an adult.”

Purcell said the relief is also another response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the federal government.

“I don’t think it would have been a conversation that would have been taken into action unless we had the pandemic,” he said.

The new program also received a positive response from U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham), who praised Biden for the effort on Twitter.

Yaffee is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts “The Yaffee Program” Weekdays 9-11am on WVNN. You can follow him on Twitter @Yaffee

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