NewsHelena News


How the Student Loan Forgiveness plan affect Montana Colleges

Carroll College.jpg
Posted at 10:26 AM, Sep 01, 2022

HELENA — Following the Biden Administration's announcement that student loan borrowers will receive up to $10,000, and in some cases $20,000 if they received Pell Grants, in loan forgiveness, it raised questions across the nation.

  • Who does it affect?
  • When does it take effect?
  • What does the average borrower need to do, to ensure they are able to claim their loan forgiveness?

A lot of those questions have been answered in the days after President Biden's announcement, but according to Carroll College financial aid director Janet Riis, there are still unanswered questions.

"There's a laundry list of questions that are already started on our national association site, and some of the questions involve dependent students whose parents had a Parent Plus Loan. Whose Pell Grant eligibility is it tied to? Is it tied to the student? Is tied to the parent? So, a lot of detailed questions that haven't even been thought of properly, by many," said Riis.

According to Riis, the plan will affect mostly former students, but some current, as long as their loans were disbursed before June of 2022. According to StudentAid.Gov, over 40 million Americans carry an average of $37,000 in student loan debt.

Riis also noted that approximately 25% of Carroll College students are eligible for Pell Grants, and that number has "been fairly consistent over the years."

At Helena College, Dean and CEO Sandy Bauman said a majority of the students receive some form of financial assistance, and in her eyes, the forgiveness plan is a great thing.

"We have about 70% of our students receive federal financial aid. Of that, about 50% of those students are receiving student loans while they're here," said Bauman. "It's great for students, right? I mean, the impact that I think we'll see is that: we've had students now, for the last few years loan repayment has been postponed, that's had a positive impact on those folks as they're establishing their careers. And so, now they'll be able to find out whether or not that goes to the next step, and whether their loans will be forgiven, which, you know, just sets our students up."

While there are still questions regarding the entirety of the process, Riis said those who are interested should keep their eye out for updates by signing up for the Department of Education's email list.

"They can go to and get signed up to be notified when the application is available, so they can get on the list. And we have a lot of, a lot of questions and not too many answers quite yet, but stay tuned and be on the website to get a lot of questions answered."