El Paso, TX

Student Loan Debt Eliminated for Community College Students in Texas

Tom Handy

Funds for the Emergency Relief money were approved for El Paso Community College students. The funds were available on a first-come basis.

Students were approved for over $3 million of debt they owed to El Paso Community College under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds (HEERF). The El Paso Community College New Beginnings Program erased balances for about 4,700 students that were enrolled in the Spring, Summer, and Fall of 2020 and the Spring of 2021.

President Biden has canceled $1.5 billion in student debt up to this point.

The canceled debt could be overturned by law if the courts don’t believe President Biden has the power to cancel the student loan debt. Then this would have to go to Congress to give the final results. Students could end up owing them money and this could create a lot of angry people if this is overturned.

“The government is working through the process to do this the right way,” said Will Sealy, co-founder, and CEO of Summer, a company that helps borrowers simplify and save on student debt.
The American Rescue Plan is an important investment to ensure that students in our region have the resources they need to stay on track and complete their degrees,” Fernie Flores, Associate Vice President of Budget and Finance said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more challenging circumstances for our students and ARPA funding will help ease their burden,” Keri Moe, Associate Vice President of External Relations, Communication & Development said. “Even though times may feel uncertain, now is the best time to pursue or finish a college degree. Not only do college graduates earn more, the jobs of the future will require some sort of degree or certificate and this funding helps ensure that students can meet their emergency needs and achieve their goals.”

More details from El Paso Community College on funding availability for students are located on their website. Students have to be enrolled for at least 6 credit hours for the Fall semester.

El Paso Community College students have been emailed about their status and should receive a letter in the mail.

“EPCC students have been adversely affected by the pandemic and we want them to be able to stay on their path to completing their degree,” Keri Moe, associate vice president of External Relations, Communication & Development said. “We want to help students find the resources to emerge from the pandemic, regain financial stability, and to be able to continue to pursue their dreams.”

The college has distributed federal and other grant funding to aid students with basic expenses like childcare, utilities, transportation, and other basic needs. EPCC has worked with the Foundation for EPCC to create these funds for students.

EPCC is committed to helping students stay focused on their goals and success,” Fernie Flores, Associate Vice President of Budget & Financial Services said. “By utilizing this federal funding to forgive student debt to the college incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, students are able to get a fresh start, resume their studies and improve their lives.”

Fernie Flores, Associate Vice President of Budget & Financial Services said, “By utilizing this federal funding to forgive student debt to the college incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, students are able to get a fresh start, resume their studies and improve their lives.”

This is good news for El Paso Community College students as long as the courts don’t overrule President Biden’s initiative. Students will have to wait and see how this turns out.

For students enrolled in the Fall semester at EPCC, they can apply to receive the ARPA Grant at go.epcc.edu/ARPA.

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