- Not everyone rejoiced when Biden announced up to $20,000 in federal student debt relief.
- Some who have already repaid their loans say the decision was unfair or sends the wrong message.
- Others are happy for those who are relieved, but also wish to be rewarded for their sacrifices.
Millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief last Wednesday when President Joe Biden announced the forgiveness of up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year.
But many Americans who have already paid off their student loans have felt a stab in the heart.
Angie Statham, 48, of Plainfield, Indiana, started college more than 20 years ago, racking up more than $29,000 in student loan debt, as Insider verified. Although she says repaying the loans was “incredibly difficult”, her balance hit zero in 2015.
As a single mother, Statham says she worked two jobs that kept her away from her daughter for long hours. To get by, she says she lived in tiny apartments, drove “thresher cars”, earned extra money from garage sales and hardly ever took vacations.
While Statham says she is “so excited” for everyone who will benefit from the cancellation of student debt, she wishes more could be done to make college more affordable for “everyone”. She also says the Biden administration has neglected all the people like her who have sacrificed to pay off their loans. As a Pell Grant recipient, she might have been able to see up to $20,000 of her loans forgiven under Biden’s plan.
“I don’t think it’s fair for those of us who have taken student loans and who have sacrificed, whose children or spouses have also sacrificed, to pay off our loans in full,” he said. she stated.
President Biden’s announcement on student debt cancellation and reform last week drew a wide range of responses. While many people were happy to see their debt relieved, others said the president hadn’t gone far enough. Some Americans — including those who took student loans from private lenders or exceeded the income threshold — felt left out, and many argued that Biden’s plan would not solve the fundamental problem of college affordability. . Others, who have worked hard to repay their loans, have characterized the decision as unjust.
“Will the government cancel my mortgage?”
For Statham, it’s not just the money she put into paying off her loan that she can’t get back. It’s the vacations, movies and restaurants she could have enjoyed with her daughter — as well as the less stressful life she would have lived — if her student debt hadn’t weighed her down.
Roughly 20 millions Federal student loan borrowers could see their balances wiped out under Biden’s proposal, leaving double that amount still saddled with student debt. These loans are the second largest category of consumer debt behind mortgages, accounting for approximately ten% of total household debt. The average borrower should nearly $30,000but some have seen their loan balances increase – not decrease – as accumulating interest charges make this debt inevitable for some.
Statham would like to receive some sort of compensation from the government, but she says that won’t happen and that ultimately the cancellation sends the wrong message.
“If you can’t afford to repay a loan, maybe you shouldn’t have agreed to its terms in the first place,” she said. “Will the government now cancel my mortgage? Will they give me a $20,000 tax credit? is just another way to excuse irresponsibility.”
Colleges ‘should pay back what they steal from people’
Micah Wyman, 42, of northern Indiana, only attended college for two years but said he helped his wife pay off about $22,000 in college debt.
In order to make payments, Wyman said he and his wife delayed having children until all their debts were paid off and they reduced their vacations. He said finally paying off all the debt after seven years was a “satisfying feeling”.
Wyman said President Biden’s decision was “dictatorial” and does not believe the president has the power to cancel student debt. While the Trump administration concluded that it lacked the authority to cancel student debt, the Biden administration deemed that decision to be “substantially incorrect.” The legal issue comes down to the Heroes Act 2003, which gives the government the power to provide debt relief during national emergencies.
Wyman does not expect the government to compensate him for student loans he has already paid off.
“It should come from those colleges that have these huge endowments,” he said. “They should pay back what they steal from people, just to keep the government afloat.”
Andrew Thrasher, 35 from Indiana, says his family helped with tuition ‘to some degree’ but he left college with student debt which he has since paid off . He thinks canceling student debt is a misuse of public funds and an attempt by Democrats to “boost the poll numbers” ahead of the midterm elections.
“It doesn’t address any underlying issues around education costs,” he said. “And more importantly, it doesn’t help millions of Americans who really need financial help and don’t have a college education.”
While details remain to be seen, President Biden wrote on Twitter Monday that he plans to hold “colleges accountable for rising costs,” suggesting additional plans may be underway to combat the cost of education. ‘Higher Education.
Rather than canceling debt, Thrasher believes the money should be invested in the financial education of high school students to help them make better financial decisions as adults around budgeting, saving, and spending money. ‘investment.
“If we are going to spend government money, it should be used to advance the resolution of a problem,” he said. “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”