Student Life

President Biden’s executive orders impact SAU college students

On Jan. 20, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as president and vice president of the United States. Since getting inaugurated, President Biden has issued over 40 executive orders since he took office. Some of these executive orders have a direct effect on SAU college students, like the pausing of student federal loans until at least Sept. 30. 

His executive orders include but are not limited to, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline, cancelling federal contracts with private prisons, pausing student federal loans until at least Sept. 30 and ending many Trump era policies. 

Yasmin Toto, a junior, is excited about Biden’s executive orders that he has enacted so far and thinks the country is headed in the right direction after four years under Donald Trump. 

“It’s good that we are rejoining the Paris Accord because if we don’t do anything about the environment it’s going to get worse. Cancelling federal contracts with private prisons is also important because these prisons are making money off people when they should not be there in the first place. Biden’s policies are more humane, and he is trying to benefit people who have been left behind in the past,” Toto said.

President Biden has several ambitious plans focused on tackling economic and environmental initiatives as well as actions on racial justice, education and healthcare. Despite all these plans, Biden faces a divided congress with the Democrats having a narrow majority in both the House and the Senate. 

“Biden will be able to achieve most of his legislative agenda, but not all of it because Republicans will not agree. But I think he will end up achieving it because he has the majority in both the House and the Senate,” Toto said. 

Biden seeks to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which includes $1,400 direct payments to most Americans which includes dependent college students, a $400 per week federal jobless benefit through September, and $350 billion for state, local, and tribal relief. It also puts $170 billion into K-12 schools and higher education institutions, along with $20 billion into a national vaccine program. 

Adam Kasper, a junior, emphasizes that Biden’s plan will uplift those struggling the most, and those that disagree with Biden’s plan need to “recognize their privilege.”

“We need to empower the people who are going through the largest struggles during this time. A lot of Republicans disagree because they feel that they were never given handouts and therefore, no one deserves handouts, but it is the privilege of being able to be ignorant to problems,” Kasper said.  

GOP senators have a smaller coronavirus relief proposal- a $600 billion package. Stimulus checks would be at $1,000 instead of $1,400. Dependent college aged students would still get checks, but they would be $500 instead of $1,000. It would also direct $20 billion towards schools and no money towards state, local, and tribal relief.  Click here for a closer comparison of the two proposed plans.

“Republicans do not understand the complexity of economics in that by giving money to the poor we in turn give money to the rich. This sense of democracy comes the opposite of trickle-down theory, and it’s how we should be doing this so people can first get the support they deserve, and secondly understand that it’s okay to be poor right now,” Kasper said. 

President Biden also plans on administering 100 million coronavirus vaccination shots in 100 days. The Biden administration will start sending vaccinations to pharmacies to increase access beginning on Feb. 11. 

To take a closer look at all of Biden’s executive orders, visit: