Relief for Student-Loan Borrowers on Horizon

By Bobbie A. Hickman

Cancelling some student loan debt was a campaign promise of President Joseph Biden. Now students wait to see what happens.

According to a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson, “President Biden campaigned for ambitious changes to higher education as well as relief for student-loan borrowers. On his first day in Office he extended the student-loan payment pause through Sept. 30, 2021. Other proposals will take longer and need Congressional approval. As the President has said for months, he supports Congress immediately cancelling $10,000 for federal student-loan debt per person as a response to the COVID crisis.”

According to USAFacts, a non-partisan data driven entity, “Forty-two million people, or one-in-six American adults, currently carry a federal student loan. The nation’s overall student debt reached $1.6 trillion in June 2019.”

This debt could be partially cancelled or eliminated. “In this moment of economic pain and strain, we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated: No. 1,” said President Joseph Biden, at a televised town hall Feb. 16.  “And No. 2, I’m prepared to write off a $10,000 debt but not $50,000.”

Noted on a press release dated Sept. 17, 2020 from Senator Elizabeth Warren’s official website, “Congress has already granted the Secretary of Education the legal authority to broadly cancel student debt under section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Department of Education has reportedly used this authority to implement modest relief for federal student-loan borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Warren and the Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer are encouraging President Biden to eliminate $50,000 in student-loan debt with no tax liability, according to Warren’s website.

“I have $10,263 in student loans and I will probably get another $6,000 out before I am done with the program,” said Wendy Hickey, CSN veterinary nurse student. “I also went to school before like 12 years ago and I never finished paying those off, but I kept putting it into forbearance and I just stopped paying it because everything else is coming at me.” When asked if student-loan forgiveness would help, she said, “Yes”.

Noah Fischel, a former CSN student with educational debt that is currently in deferment, said, “Cancelling student debt is insanely beneficial to me. I would not have the burden and worry to pay back my student debt. I can save for things like buying a house or a car.”

“If I didn’t have a monthly bill for my student loans, any excess money I have would be used towards my bills and towards my son,” said Aundraya Williams, a student at CSN who has student loans.

President Biden restated his plans at the town hall: some free college education, changing the current debt forgiveness programs for public service and forgiving student loan debt up to $10,000.

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