By LaKeshia N. Myers
Student loan debt continues to be a hot topic among many Americans, especially millennials who on average, carry $32,000 in debt. Those who default on their student loans can be exempt from certain types of employment, which can perpetuate the cycle of poverty from one generation to the next.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, President Biden has extended the pause on student-loan payments four times. He also wiped-out student debt for targeted groups of borrowers, such as those defrauded by for-profit schools and those with permanent disabilities. A proposal currently being debated in Congress is another extension, along with broad student-loan forgiveness — $10,000 in relief for those making under $150,000 a year (Insider, 2022).
While Congress is debating if or the amount of student debt to forgive, President Biden’s Education Department is planning to release a new income-driven repayment plan in the coming weeks, and it’s also in the process of carrying out Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) reforms from last year, one of which included a waiver that runs through October 31st that allows any past payments a borrower made — even those previously deemed ineligible — to count toward the forgiveness progress. The waiver has so far brought $8.1 billion in relief to 145,000 borrowers.
I implore any Wisconsinite that has student loan debt to contact their service provider, inquire about repayment plans and/or loan forgiveness option you may be eligible for. If you are in default due to unemployment, underemployment, or incarceration, please contact your service provider and begin a repayment plan. If you can pay five dollars per month, you can become current on your loan repayment. Take advantage of these programs while they are available; get it while the getting is good.