FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — With President Biden’s announcement regarding student loan forgiveness on Wednesday, WANE 15 looked into how it could potentially impact Hoosiers.

Rachel Blakeman, the director of Purdue Fort Wayne’s Community Research Institute, conducted a survey in conjunction with the Mike Downs Center for Politics in 2021.

They found that roughly 20% to 23% of adults in Allen County had student loans they were paying off.

Data provided by Blakeman also showed that students who obtained Bachelor’s degrees in the state of Indiana were leaving college with an average balance of $28,521 in 2020. That year, 57% of Indiana students had debt upon graduation.

In the 4th quarter of 2021, the average student loan balance in Indiana was $34,045.

According to Blakeman, these numbers show that $10,000 in forgiveness would be beneficial for some, but it wouldn’t have an immediate impact for a lot of people.

“If everyone is forgiven $10,000, or most people are forgiven $10,000, what we’re seeing when we look at the loan balances is people are still going to have a lot of student loans left,” Blakeman said. “Is it going to wipe out the balance for some folks? Absolutely. But, in many ways for those who stuck with it and got to graduation, those are probably people who won’t see all of their balance erased because they’re still carrying more than $10,000.”

Ron Herell, director of financial aid at Purdue Fort Wayne, says although the wiping of $10,000 may not clear majority of people of all student loan debt, it could help those who maxed out go back to school. For those who are already finished getting their degree, he says it could allow them to spend their money elsewhere, like car payments and mortgages.

“Let’s admit it. Student loans are a heavy burden to take, if you had to take out those student loans. So, you’re talking for the next 10 years of your life you’re making payments on those. It’s a huge burden for anybody, especially with the way inflation is going right now … This is really going to help out people to be able to afford more,” Herrell said.

Blakeman noted that there are political motivators in Biden providing student loan forgiveness, and it’s going to frustrate some people who already paid off their loans or didn’t go to college.

She urges people to remember that the data shows that most people will still owe thousands of dollars even if they had $10,000 cut from their balance.

Herrell mentioned the announcement made today is just that: an announcement. He says we need to give it some time to see what the actual documents will look like and warns people to not make rash decisions.

WANE 15 talked to people in downtown Fort Wayne Wednesday to get their thoughts on the announcement.

Kaitlyn Bestul said she didn’t finish college, so she’s paying off a loan for a degree she never got. She’d be very relieved to get the help.

“I know that there’s always pros and cons to all of this, but as someone who is in their 20’s trying to start their life up, I’m really struggling with it. If this actually goes through, I will officially be debt free,” she said.

On the other hand, Michelle Gratz-Kucharski still owes around $60,000 and still disagrees with forgiving loans.

“I’m just not sure how we’re going to, as a country, afford that. I mean, it’s great since I have student loans, but I just don’t know that I agree with it. I feel like we borrowed the money. We owe it. We should pay it,” Gratz-Kucharski explained.

She said she doesn’t believe this would benefit an already struggling economy. She knows she wouldn’t get help on her car loan, so she doesn’t think she should get help with student loans either.