It’s time to eliminate federal student loans for good

Zena Mohamed

President Joe Biden’s administration has announced that the pause on federal student loan repayments will be extended until Aug. 31. The freeze on student loans is advantageous but not enough for those who have been struggling to get their payments in on time due to the economic disruption exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be the seventh delay since the pandemic had begun which is very beneficial for tens of millions of borrowers who were expected to make payments again by May 1.

About 35 million students have been unable to make payments which means that if the pause were to expire next month, accruing interest and increased debt would be inevitable.

Many debt-cancellation advocates have stepped forward to demonstrate how the cancellation would not only relieve a significant amount of stress from students but is also remunerative.

An economic policy that would do away with indebtedness would help both students and the economy. According to researchers, it would boost the GDP, add over 1.5 million new jobs and reduce the unemployment rate.

Borrowers can use that money by buying property, spending in their communities and investing in things that they need.

“Americans owe $1.6 trillion on federal student loans — more than they owe on car loans, credit cards or any consumer debt other than mortgages,” The New York Times reported.

Some have suggested that government officials compromise by reducing every borrowers’ debt to a certain amount.

For example, Sen. Chuck Schumer has called for Biden to remove $50,000 per person.

However, Biden has refused to do so and believes that debt cancellation should occur legislativelymeaning that it would be up to Congress.

If that is the case, then students are not going to see a change anytime soon since it is exceedingly difficult to get such a proposal passed by the legislative branch.

“Congressional supporters say they don’t have the votes; a plan to cancel $10,000 in debt for many borrowers passed the House in 2020 as part of its pandemic relief package, then died in the Senate,” according to The New York Times.

Following the four-month pause, and in the buildup to the midterm elections, this will be an ongoing issue for many.

“With each and every repayment extension, you make a stronger case for canceling it,” Wisdom Cole, the NAACP’s national director of youth and college, said. “At this point, just cancel it.”

It has become evident that with every delay, there is a visible push toward getting rid of debt completely.

The Department of Education is trying to ensure that people are being assisted during these unprecedented times.

“If federal student loan borrowers can no longer afford their monthly payment once they resume, they may be eligible for an income-driven repayment plan. Under those plans, which are based on income and family size, a monthly payment can be as low as $0 a month.” CNN reported.

Although this maybe life-changing for some, for other families their income may be just above a specific threshold that wouldn’t qualify them for such benefits.

Canceling student debt would change peoples’ lives by taking off a burden that seemed to be a never-ending issue for those who just want a decent education.

“Is it ruining lives and holding people back,” Sen. Patty Murray said as reported by The Associated Press. “Borrowers are struggling with rising costs, struggling to get their feet back under them after public health and economic crises, and struggling with broken student loan system — and all this is felt especially hard by borrowers of color.”

Students go to college to explore their interests, learn, grow and create a future for themselves where they can live contently. However, accruing interest and paying off debt for the rest of their lives deprives them of attaining those things.

Although it is helpful that the Biden administration is helping students by putting a halt to their student debt, there should be a greater effort made to ensure the well-being of every learner.