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San Diego students weigh in on Supreme Court controversy over loan forgiveness

A $400 billion forgiveness in student debt is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. This morning, the justices in Washington D.C. heard arguments for both sides of President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan. And here in San Diego, those who are most impacted had something to say as well. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez has some of their stories.

A $400 billion forgiveness in student loan debt is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justices in Washington, D.C. heard arguments Tuesday morning for both sides of President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan.

In San Diego, students who are most impacted by the debate had something to say as well.


Annie Choi is a sophomore studying business at San Diego State. She had already qualified for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness with the Biden plan.

 “I pay taxes, and I feel that it should go toward my student loans. If the president is just trying to help us out, I think he should be able to," Choi said.

She has a part-time job at the BCB Café on the campus of San Diego State University, and she has a course load of 22 units this semester working toward a business degree. Choi said she is stressed about finances and student loans, coming from a middle-class Orange County family.

“I feel like the middle class is in an awkward space between lower and upper, especially because I don’t get as much as I need," Choi said. "I’m literally working a minimum wage job that doesn’t provide as much as I need it to.” 

Matthew Bowler
The Student Financial Aid Center at San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif., February 28, 2023.

Amayrani Calderon, 17, and Jansley Flores, 17, are just getting started on their college journey. They are juniors at the Preuss School, a charter campus for students from low-income families who are looking to become the first in their families to attend college.

Tuesday, they joined their classmates in a tour of San Diego State. Both have big plans for their careers; Flores said she wants a career as a medical technician or an anesthesiologist, and Calderon said she wants to become a neonatal surgeon.

Those career choices could eventually cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition once they graduate from high school next year. For now, they want the Supreme Court to hear their arguments for loan forgiveness.

Flores said,  “I would tell them to think more about what the students might be dealing with, like in their personal lives. Everyone has a different story, everyone is going through different things and different struggles.” 

"I don’t think you should have to pay to go to school to pursue a career and be something in life where you want to give back to your community," Calderon said.

The California State University System has supported the Biden forgiveness plan from the beginning for students in need at all its campuses.

In an online statement , CSU Interim Chancellor Joelene Koester said, in part, "With even less debt, these students and our recent alumni will be better positioned to strengthen the California workforce and communities throughout the state as they pursue their professional and personal dreams. We will continue to work with our federal leaders to advance this effort."