Student loan forgiveness would be a game changer for so many people, myself included. I feel like it’s a dark cloud that hangs over my head. Maybe more like the elephant in the room, taking up a huge chunk of space, but always just silently observing. Watching me and wondering why it is that I haven’t even made any attempt at trying to pay them off. It’s not that I don’t want to repay my student loans — I simply don’t know how to do that and continue to be able to survive. It feels impossible to do both.
There are millions of people who probably feel the same as me. Based on current statistics, 11 million student loan borrowers are in default, delinquency or forbearance.
For the first time in my adult life, I have a stable amount of income coming in, but as someone who works in editorial, it still feels like my salary could disappear at any second. While the stability of a salary has helped my family feel a little more comfortable, I still don’t see how I can pay my student loans back now, almost 14 years after I graduated from college. More than half of my salary goes to rent and then we still have to eat and have a little money leftover. I don’t have savings and I have credit card debt to pay as well. My partner is a freelancer, which means that I am the breadwinner in the family. There is a lot of month at the end of my money. So I don’t see how repayment is possible.
For me, the only hope of getting the monkey off my back is student loan forgiveness. So many politicians have put it on their docket so many times since I graduated that it feels like a myth. You know, mermaids, unicorns, student loan debt forgiveness, and universal healthcare.
A poll from January shows that 57 percent of American adults want president Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness. Those who only have federal student loan debt brings that number to 84 percent. According to the poll, 7 in 10 people think that the president should grant some type of student loan forgiveness. Thirty-four percent believe that all student loans should be forgiven.
My fellow Black women lead the way (53 percent) in supporting cancellation of all debt, which isn’t surprising when 1 in 4 Black adults have federal student loan debt. And millennials come in a very close second to Gen Z in wanting all student loan debt forgiven. We millennials have the most student loan debt (23 percent), while 27 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 have student loan debt. A Black millennial woman, I check all those boxes.
“Canceling $50,000 of student-loan debt would give 36 million Americans permanent total relief,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said during a town hall in January. “That would be the end of their debt burden. And it would aid millions more by significantly reducing the principal on their debt.”
If Biden did agree to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt, that means that 9.8 million borrowers would have their slates wiped clean.
For me, that would barely scratch the surface of my principal loan. However, it would make a significant dent in my partner’s debt, which would alleviate some stress for us both. Thanks to COVID-19, she hasn’t been working and therefore not paying back her loans. But we know that the May deadline to end the reprieve on interest is fast approaching, and we have to come up with some sort of strategy, if any, for repayment.