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San Diego students react to Biden saying community colleges are 'America's best-kept secret'

President Joe Biden called community colleges America’s best-kept secret in his State of the Union address.

He did not mention student loan forgiveness which is a campaign promise. School finances were on the mind of San Diego Mesa College students, Wednesday, as they came back to campus for their re-orientation.

Alberto Lizarraga is in his second semester with hopes of getting into medical school someday.


“I totally support forgiving student loans,” he said, “Those student loans actually do put pressure on a student’s life which may affect the way they can succeed academically. So, it would definitely relieve me of a lot of pressure and make me feel more supported.”

RELATED: Locals react to State of the Union address

Injae Wi immigrated from South Korea three years ago. He is taking physiology, ethics, and sociology classes this semester at Mesa College.

“I would like to be a nurse working in a hospital,” Wi said. He depends on financial aid and a student loan.

“I have a part-time job to pay for school and my bills,” Wi continued, “So forgiving my loans would really help me focus on school.”


There are re-orientations happening at all the San Diego Community College District schools, this week.

Two years of mostly online learning has brought challenges and some changes that are helpful to continue.

Students return to Mesa College for a re-orientation session also happening at the other San Diego Community College District schools, this week. Linda Vista, CA, March 2, 2022.
Mike Damron
Students return to Mesa College for a re-orientation session also happening at the other San Diego Community College District schools, this week. San Diego, Calif. March 2, 2022.

One of the biggest cost-saving changes, according to the District’s Chancellor Carlos O. Turner Cortez “We’ve seen literally thousands of faculty members dump their textbook in the past couple of years,” he said, “they’ve adopted online textbooks for free. It is a major shift in economic security for students while enrolled in school.”

Grace Speiecher is in her second semester at Mesa College. Wednesday was only her third time on campus. While she remains undecided about a major, she has an interest in a career in speech pathology.

Speiecher is preparing for the financial liability and wants the relief of loan forgiveness. “The financial burden will increase and so having an option, I’d feel less stress and have the liberty to take other courses that I want to take. I wouldn’t feel restricted,” She said.

President Biden did call for increasing Pell Grants and support for historically Black colleges and universities.

“It’s the difficult moments that make us stronger. So, I believe some of the positive outcomes of COVID will be the resilience our students have developed living through the past couple of years,” said Turner Cortez.

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