Story at a glance
- The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the financial burden on many Americans who owe thousands in student loan debt.
- President Biden said he will not eliminate $50,000 in student debt, but he is “prepared” to cancel $10,000 in debt.
- A new poll shows that most college students still believe attending college is a sound investment.
Most college students agree that taking out a student loan amid the coronavirus pandemic is not a good idea, according to a new survey by CollegeFinance.com. So why are they still taking them?
Two-thirds of college students between 19-30 years old still think a college degree is a good investment, whether in person or virtually, even though less than a third of students felt confident they’d be able to get their desired job after graduation — and even fewer were confident in getting their desired pay.
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Student loan debt crossed $1.7 trillion last year and became the second highest consumer debt category in the United States. Graduates face growing unemployment in a shrinking economy due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while the CARES Act offered debt relief to some, others are still struggling to repay their loans.
Only 19 percent of students attending college virtually and 21 percent of in-person students surveyed were able to obtain COVID-19 relief on their student loans, according to the study. Most were being more careful with their loans, and 1 in 5 regretted taking out their loans — a number that was even higher among those attending college virtually.
One in 10 students surveyed considered putting their studies on hold in 2021, with virtual students being more likely to do so, with anxiety over COVID-19 remaining high. The survey might not paint the entire picture, however, as only 36 percent of respondents were women while 64 percent were men — despite women outnumbering men in American colleges.
Democratic lawmakers in Congress are calling on President Biden to wipe out up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for all borrowers, suspend student loan payments and interest for the duration of the pandemic and ensure zero tax liability for borrowers after any administrative debt cancellation. But during a town hall on CNN, Biden said “I will not make that happen.”
“I understand the impact of debt, and it can be debilitating,” the president said. “I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50 [thousand], because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.”
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