LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A range of reactions, both for and against, with the announcement of forgiveness on student loans made Aug. 24 by President Biden. Arkansas voices, of course, were among the responses, but then Arkansas student borrowers will be among those affected.

The Education Data Initiative reports student loan debt, graduates and non-graduates, in Arkansas is an average of $33,333.

In its annual report, the Institute for College Access and Success shows that 54% the typical Arkansas college or university students graduate with $27,319 in debt from federal student loan programs. Graduates who take on private debt have $30,024 owed and make up 8% of graduates.

Information from the United States Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid shows Arkansas federal student aid student borrowers have a balance of $13.2 billion across 387,600 borrowers, about 13% of the state population. Ages 35 to 49 owe the most of that amount, followed closely by those 24 to 34 years old.

The proposed loan forgiveness program would remove $10,000 of the $33,333 amount due for student borrowers, or $20,000 if the borrower was a Pell Grant recipient, a program for students with low household incomes.

Arkansas graduates 32,340 from college annually. Of that number 28% receive associate degrees, 50.1% have bachelor’s degrees and the remainder have either masters or doctoral degrees.