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Student loan borrowers left wondering whether forgiveness is still possible

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 2:31 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - More than 43 million Americans carry federal student loan debt.

Last week, the Biden administration extended the repayment pause an extra 90 days because of the Omicron variant.

Student loan payments and interest will kick back in for millions of borrowers next May. Progressives say President Biden should also use his authority to make good on his campaign promise to forgive federal student loans, and are trying to hold Biden to his campaign promise.

Meanwhile, borrowers themselves are left wondering what’s going on as they see payment deadlines inch closer.

Brittany Cesan, a master’s student who will be graduating soon, said,This waiting game waiting for help and not knowing if you’ll get it. That sucks.”

Cesan is trying to come up with a plan for how she will afford her loan payments after she graduates, and said loan forgiveness would be life-changing.

Cesar said, “I will be able to use that money for my life, my my future husband, my future kids, future home.”

In March of 2020, then candidate Biden tweeted, “Additionally, we should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, as proposed by Senator Warren and colleagues. Young people and other student debt holders bore the brunt of the last crisis. It shouldn’t happen again.”

Cesan said she was an independent voter and Biden’s promise swayed her to support him in 2020.

She said, “We were kind of like really excited and banking on literally banking on that promise.”

Progressives on Capitol Hill have been pleading with the administration to cancel federal student loan debt.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, (D-NY) led a series of floor speeches by different members of the House of Representatives in early December calling on the Biden Administration to authorize broad student loan forgiveness.

Bowman said on the House floor, “Now we need loan forgiveness for the 40 million other people in this country.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sent a signal that the administration was unlikely to do so before payment deadlines and interest charges restart.

After announcing the extension of the federal student loan repayment pause, Psaki said, “We know some student loan borrowers are still coping with the pandemic and need some time before resuming payments.”

Ethan Miller, a financial planner, says borrowers should be preparing to repay their student loans and may consider refinancing the loans with a private lender at a lower rate.

Miller said, “If you’re making the same payment every month, making it on a loan with a lower interest rate would mean that you would you’d pay off your loans faster and pay less in total over time.”

Miller also cautioned about some of the drawbacks of refinancing that borrowers should weigh. Such as, not being eligible for federal repayment programs, and becoming ineligible for potential forgiveness that may come.

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