People in debt expect potential relief
CHARLOTTE, NC – College has always been in the playbook for Jennifer McLean.
Her 2017 Master was an additional step that she took to open up more opportunities. However, three years later, school is anything but over. Now she owes over $ 70,000 in student loans, but she’s not the only one living with student debt.
The Institute for College Access and Success says more than six in 10 seniors graduate with an average debt of $ 28,590. In North Carolina, the number is just under $ 26,583.
“Aside from my mortgage, it’s my main debt. I don’t really have any credit or debt or anything like that, ”McLean says.
McLean, who is a substance use prevention specialist, is also on an income-based reimbursement plan – meaning her student payments are based on how much she earns.
With a salary of around $ 46,000, she pays $ 250 per month.
“I have to pay for a car, I have bills, I have a mortgage, I have to save… it seems reasonable but it remains a burden,” says McLean.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he is supporting $ 10,000 per borrower for student debt relief. It’s a fraction of what some other Democratic politicians would want, but it’s still a big move.
“$ 10,000 for each borrower would represent a massive federal investment in student debt reduction,” said Chris Marsicano, assistant professor of education at Davidson College.
Marsicano says student debt is a worsening problem, but hesitates to call it a major crisis. He says the people with the most debt are also the ones earning the highest wages. He says any government assistance should come with systemic change.
“If we give every borrower a $ 10,000 loan reduction now, if we don’t change the system, we’ll be back to where we are in five to ten years,” he says.
McLean’s Change Idea is a little bigger than $ 10,000. She would like all debts from undergraduate programs at community colleges and public universities to be paid off. She says if that happened, she could put money back into the economy.
“Financial freedom is so important, especially when you’re thinking about starting a family,” McLean says.
Even so, she says that $ 10,000 in relief is better than nothing.
It’s unclear how President-elect Joe Biden would set up his student debt plan, whether he would use executive action or go through Congress.
Spectrum News One reached out to Biden’s team, but there was nothing new to share.