By Donovan Levine
Following President Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, he extended the suspension of federal student loan payments until Sept. 30 as his first notable action as president.
This lets student borrowers with extensive loan debt catch a break from the current student loan forbearance period, set to expire at the end of January.
Interest will not accrue during this suspended period either and will remain at zero.
“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer introduced legislation with Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, calling on Biden to forgive $50,000 in student debt per person on his first day in office,” as reported by the Sacramento Bee.
Biden’s executive order comes as no real surprise, as this was something he substantially promoted during his campaign, and something he previously worked on alongside former President Barack Obama, but was fought against by Congress, given the financial crisis that surrounded both of his terms as vice president.
So what does this mean for college students across the country? Or to high school teenagers at a crossroads between attending university or pursuing their career some other way?
This gives hope to graduating students, ensuring they will not fall into financial ruin under the crushing weight of student debt immediately upon stepping into the world for the first time. This is breathing room.
Pausing student loans and extending the deadline on loan payments is the first step towards eventually cancelling all debt and ultimately a step forward to returning all of that money into the economy.
It goes without question that student loan debt and the price of attending university have each skyrocketed since the 1980s. LendEDU provides an extensive study on how tuition costs have doubled and in some cases tripled among universities across the USA.
It was only recently in 2010 under President Obama’s administration that all new federal loans were required to become direct loans. In 2012, total loan debt surpassed $1 trillion.
Now, while attending university is not the end-all, be-all, (yes, I say this as a four-year college student) there are other do-able alternatives like attending trade schools and one-year tech schools and numerous benefits with joining the military or joining unions– but other options do not and will not ever take away the right to an extended, affordable education that every single American should share.
If this country is built on the idea of pursuing your passion, why not give the youth a fighting chance?
The first 100 days of the presidency are considered to be the benchmark for how successful a president will be during their term ever since the first term of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In an article on Forbes, Biden’s first 100 days will focus primarily on the pandemic and economic recovery for the nation with his strategy focusing first on students set to enter the workforce in the next few years to help them weather the economic storm coming from the 2020 recession.
“Reshaping higher education and providing student loan relief is expected to be a major focus of Biden’s administration,” according to Forbes.