Many Americans don’t approve of how student loan debt is being handled by Biden

Many borrowers want to see forgiveness, but don’t approve of how student loans have been handled in recent years.  (iStock)

Student loan debt is a hot topic this election season. As the battle for and against debt forgiveness rages on, many borrowers are being vocal about their opinions on forgiveness. Less than a third of the American public currently approves of how student loan debt is being handled by the Biden Administration, a poll from the University of Chicago showed. 

Many adults do believe forgiveness is necessary in certain circumstances, however. In those instances, borrowers along all party lines support the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce student loan debt.

“In recent years, more than a million borrowers who were defrauded by the schools they attended have received debt relief from the government, and the survey shows that forgiveness under such circumstances is supported by a majority of Americans,” Lesley Turner, an associate professor at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy said.

“Although existing forgiveness policies may receive less attention than broad-based student loan forgiveness plans, such as the one overturned by the Supreme Court in 2023, they are an important source of relief for the most vulnerable borrowers – those who took on debt but did not necessarily benefit from their investment in the ways they hoped,” Turned explained.

Borrowers currently paying down debt are much more likely to deem student debt relief important than those who paid off or never took out loans. Nearly 54% of current borrowers found debt relief important, 31% who paid off their loans said the same thing and 34% of adults who never had loans find relief important.

Party lines also influence support of loan forgiveness. Democrats with a college degree favor student loan forgiveness more often than those without a degree, particularly if the borrower is experiencing financial hardship.

Republicans are the opposite. Those holding a college degree were more likely than Republicans without a college degree to oppose student loan forgiveness, especially if the borrower is struggling financially.

“The findings highlight that a college degree is associated with both Democrats and Republicans taking a more partisan view of student loan forgiveness,” David Sterrett, a principal research scientist for NORC at the University of Chicago, said. “Given the administration’s announcement of student debt relief plans ahead of the 2024 election, forgiveness tends to resonate more with Democrats, but it is also popular with those who currently have student loans.”  

If you can qualify for a student loan refinance at a lower rate than you’re currently paying, there are few downsides to refinancing. You can use Credible to compare student loan refinancing rates from multiple private lenders without affecting your credit score.

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Early childhood education workers may soon qualify for more student loan forgiveness

Workers in the early childhood education field may soon see additional student loan forgiveness under an expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The U.S. Department of Education plans to issue a request for information to get a sense of the potential expansion.

“Early childhood educators help young children learn, grow, and thrive. But they are often poorly compensated, and student debt is a problem. If these educators can access Public Service Loan Forgiveness, we can help our youngest children, their families, and their communities,” U.S. Under Secretary of Education, James Kvaal said.

Expanding access to PSLF options could help over 450,000 workers in early education pay down their student loan debt, data from the National Survey of Early Care and Education conducted found. The survey was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services’s Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation.

This would add to the more than 900,000 borrowers the Biden Administration has helped earn student loan forgiveness.

If you have private student loans, unfortunately, federal relief doesn’t apply to you. If you’re looking to lower monthly payments, consider refinancing your student loans. Lock in some of your lowest interest rates via the online marketplace Credible.

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New student loan policy would increase student loan payments for many borrowers

The conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, has proposed a student loan agenda called Project 25. Under the plan, student loan forgiveness as it’s currently implemented, would change completely.

President Biden’s SAVE plan would be phased out and income-driven repayments (IDR) plans would also be adjusted. Instead, a one-size-fits-all IDR plan would be put in place for all borrowers.

Critics of the new plan cite a rise in payments for millions of borrowers as a reason the plan shouldn’t be passed. Average borrowers will likely pay $2,700 up to $4,000 more per year under Project 25.

The project would lower the income threshold for making payments under the SAVE plan. Currently, those making $34,000 or less don’t need to make payments towards their loans. Project 25 would lower this threshold to $15,000 in annual income, forcing thousands of Americans to make payments they otherwise might not be able to afford.

Additionally, Project 25 would eliminate time-based and occupation-based forgiveness options like the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program. This program cancels $17,500 in debt after five years of service and, after 10 years, teachers are eligible for the PSLF program, which would cancel the remaining balance.

An online tool like Credible can be handy for comparing student loan refinancing rates from multiple lenders all in one place.

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