Hope May be Looming on the Horizon for Student Loan Forgiveness
With the new presidential administration taking office in January, promises were made for a multitude of student loans to be forgiven. Student loans are a burden that many college students bear, with repayments starting as soon as six months after a student leaves school for any reason, or nine months for those with Perkins Loans.
While the amount that a student must repay each month can be based on income, the debt is still crippling, taking many years to pay off. These loans must be repaid even when a student does not find a job within their desired career field, or if a degree has not been obtained.
The average college student is over $39,000 in debt, with students having to borrow upwards of $30,000 for an undergraduate degree from a public university. If a student takes out loans for a graduate program, this number increases to an average borrowed amount of $70,000 for a master’s degree. Students pursuing a doctorate degree are in debt an average of a whopping $118,000.
A few students who are deeply concerned about the growing debt have taken to the internet to start petitions in a nationwide joint effort to persuade President Biden to cancel all student loans. The petition on change.org has fallen short of its 1.5 million goal, receiving just over one 1 million signatures so far. Meanwhile, the petition on moveon.org looks more promising, with 1.3 million signatures out of the 1.4 million goal.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden paused student loan repayments on his first day in office. Currently, loans are not gaining interest, and no one has had to pay anything towards their student loan debt, even if their loans are in default. This temporary pause on repayments and interest will end January 31, 2022. Biden also vowed to cancel $10,000 in loans per person because of the pandemic.
During his presidential campaign, Biden promised that canceling student loan debt would be an immediate priority if he was elected. Now that Biden has been in office for nearly a year, some students may be starting to wonder what “immediate” means to this administration; though the process may be more complicated than some might realize.
So far, Biden has canceled $2.3 billion of student loans, with a total of $1.3 billion being canceled for those who are completely and permanently disabled. This is only a small percent of the outstanding $1.7 trillion that is owed overall.
Along with the promise to cancel student loans, Biden also vowed to make college free for those with an income under $125,000 per year. If Biden’s promise to cancel student loans is upheld, then more cancellations may be coming in the future.