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UI And ISU Presidents: Hiking Pell Grants A Long-Term Solution To Easing Student Debt

Statewide, Iowa — The federal website where some current and former students may apply for college loan forgiveness launched Friday night, and University of Iowa president Barbara Wilson says for several weeks the university’s financial aid office has been fielding calls from students making preparations.

Wilson says she’s unsure how many current students on her campus qualify. Iowa State University president Wendy Wintersteen says 43 percent of ISU students graduate without debt.

Wintersteen has been cautioning ISU students about potential scams and to wait for the federal website to apply for student loan forgiveness. Earlier this year, federal lawmakers increased the maximum size of a Pell Grant by $400 to $6,895, but Wintersteen notes it’s not as much as had been discussed a year ago.

The University of Iowa’s president also contrasts the one-time student debt forgiveness plan with Pell Grants.

Wilson and Wintersteen made their comments during recent appearances on Iowa Press on Iowa PBS. According to the Biden Administration, over 400,000 Iowa borrowers are eligible for student loan forgiveness and 61 percent of them are Pell Grant recipients who qualify for $20,000 in debt forgiveness.