Student loans cripple young Americans
Americans owe $ 1.73 trillion in student loans. In 2019, 69% of college students took out loans for their post-secondary education. The average debt of 2018-2019 graduates in Vermont was $ 30,566. Many recent graduates struggle to meet their monthly loan repayments while balancing other expenses like accommodation and food. It takes 20 years for the average American to pay off their student loan debt, leaving millions of educated Americans in poverty. Bernie Sanders wants to cancel student loan debt and relieve the 42.9 million Americans who owe student loans. But this question is more than just a progressive talking point; advancing their careers, owning homeownership, and achieving the so-called American Dream is essential for millions of Americans.
My husband and I were both fortunate enough to graduate from college debt free, thanks to merit scholarships and family savings. But, when I went to college in 2017, we paid half of my tuition up front and borrowed the rest. Since graduating in January 2019, I have been paying the equivalent of over two weeks of groceries each month for my student loan debt. Until COVID-19 hits and payments are suspended.
Since March 13, 2020, like so many students, my loans have been suspended with an interest rate of 0.00%. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Education allowed student loan services to withhold payments for at least 60 days. Since then, tolerance has been extended several times. Now, payments will resume on January 31, 2022, and millions of Americans, many of whom are currently unemployed, must figure out how to re-make their payments.
This week, President Biden announced that he was ready to sign the cancellation of student loans, although Congress has yet to pass legislation. Public hearings are underway to discuss student debt relief, which would be a game changer for the millions of Americans crippled by student loans. No one is harmed if millions of students have their loans canceled.