The battle to cancel student loans intensifies
The battle to cancel student loans is heating up.
Here’s what you need to know.
Student loan forgiveness — the idea that the federal government should forgive student loans for most or all student borrowers — shows no signs of slowing down. The questions are: first, who is leading the battle, and second, what do they hope to achieve? The answers are not as simple as you might think.
Everyone should get student loan forgiveness
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) — who has called student loans “ridiculous” — says everyone should have access to student loan forgiveness. Ocasio-Cortez has been one of President Joe Biden’s most vocal critics and has repeatedly called on the president to enact large-scale student loan forgiveness for student borrowers. Missing the student loan forgiveness soon, Ocasio-Cortez says Democrats could lose the midterm election in November. (The student loan forgiveness could be the reason the Democrats lose the midterm elections). “If you’re going to lean one way, I’d rather we lean in the direction of being a little too generous than not serving the most vulnerable people,” Ocasio-Cortez said at a town hall this week. “Could it be that there are people who you don’t think should have their loans canceled and are forgiven? It’s possible.” While Ocasio-Cortez pushes for mass student loan forgiveness for low-income and high-income student borrowers, her stance may put her at odds with other progressives who support some form student loan cancellation.
Schumer and Warren: Not everyone would get student loan forgiveness
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have been leading advocates for student loan forgiveness in the U.S. Senate. Unlike Ocasio-Cortez, however, Schumer and Warren do not support large-scale student loan forgiveness for every student borrower. It’s not often talked about, but according to their plan, not everyone would get a student loan forgiven. (Here’s Who Won’t Get Student Loan Forgiveness). Rather, their plan would limit student loan forgiveness in two ways. First, the mass student loan forgiveness would only apply to federal student loans. Therefore, private student loans would not be eligible for student loan forgiveness. Second, only student borrowers with an annual income of up to $125,000 would qualify for student loan forgiveness. If passed, the plan could completely cancel federal student loans for 36 million borrowers. However, given the total number of student borrowers of 45 million, millions of student borrowers would not qualify. (That said, student loan refinance rates are ridiculously low).
Student Loan Forgiveness Battle and What’s Next
Let’s go back to the two questions.
- Who leads the battle? Interestingly, the battle is not between Democrats and Republicans. Rather, the debate is between progressives in Congress on one side and Biden, who is politically more moderate, on the other. This intraparty fight, which is rare in politics, is a burning issue that could hurt Democrats’ chances of retaining a majority in Congress this fall.
- What do they hope to accomplish? Well, the answer may depend on who you ask. Some progressives want total student loan forgiveness. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called for full student loan forgiveness. Others want limited student loan forgiveness. Schumer and Warren want up to $50,000 in student loans forgiven. (Student loan cancellation reduced to $25,000 in new proposal). Biden, who has forgiven more than $15 billion in student loans, has requested $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. Without a unified message, it is difficult to envision a mass student loan forgiveness policy that meets everyone’s political goals and objectives.
One thing is clear, and that is that temporary student loan relief is ending soon. Without a further extension, you should expect student loan forbearance to end on May 1. That’s why it’s essential that you start making student loan payments.
Here are some popular options to consider: