Despite doubts about program, millions rush to apply for student loan debt relief

Millions have already applied for debt relief.
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:28 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 17, 2022 at 5:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Student loan relief could soon be on the way for millions of Americans.

The beta version of the federal website for college loan forgiveness went live over the weekend and the White House says 40 million people across the county are eligible.

University of Hawaii at Manoa law student Anna Weightman is hoping to qualify for the debt relief after already experiencing soaring expenses.

To see if you’re eligible for the program and to file, head to

“When I did my undergrad, by the time I graduated, I’ve been to five different schools, had two kids and have been chipping at my degree for 10 years,” Weightman said. “Even with the Pell Grant, I ended up with about $25,000 in debt.”

She eventually paid that.

But shortly after starting UH law school, she lost her job during the pandemic.

“It’s just been, I don’t know if you call it uphill or downhill from there, but it’s just been every semester taking out the maximum loans, so I would say the $20,000 maybe takes off four years of payments for me in the long run,” Weightman said.

“So it is a big deal.”

Weightman is among the millions who have already applied for president Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

It offers $10,000 in relief for those making $125,000 or less and Pell Grant recipients are eligible for another $10,000.

While the goal of the plan is appreciated, financial experts say it doesn’t fix a much larger problem ― the cost of higher education.

“College tuition inflation vs, actual inflation, when you compare the two data figures, it’s tremendous,” said Kalei Cadinha-Puaa, president of Cadinha and Company, which offers financial services to more than 1,800 clients.

“College tuition inflation over the last 30 years is up over 170%., which is much different than what we on a day-to day basis are dealing with on inflation numbers.”

Cadinha-Puaa is also looking at potential ripple effects, including lingering high costs and increased taxes.

“There’s no question about the intent of the programs,” Cadinha-Puaa said.

“It’s just the impact and the consequences of the programs, do they really meet the intent? I think it would behoove us if we really looked at the root of the problems, and identify it through that versus one time bailouts.”

But Weightman says the assistance will make a difference and considering the cost of college, any bit helps.

“I feel optimistic compared to two years ago when we were all just freaking out and didn’t know what was going on,” she said.