Biden student loan forgiveness plan is not enough, some borrowers say

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ByWill Jones via WLS logo
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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For people with $50,000 or $100,0000 in student loans, wiping away up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt will not have a big impact.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Like many Americans, Toria McKenzie and Linda Perales carry tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt.

"I will never be able to pay this back. I think that it just reality," McKenzie said.

READ MORE: Biden unveils big student loan forgiveness plan

Perales is the first person in her family to go to college. She said her undergraduate and graduate degrees came at a steep price.

"You're supposed to go to college right like, make a better life for yourself. But no one tells you about like this crippling debt that's going to come afterwards," she said.

Both women believe Biden's plan offering up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness for some borrowers doesn't got far enough.

RELATED: Who benefits from Biden's student loan forgiveness plan?

"It's not really going to make that much of an impact of the lifetime over the loan," McKenzie said.

During the pandemic federal student loan payments were put on hold, allowing McKenzie to save up to buy a condo on Chicago's North Side.

Perales cites stories like that as a reason to forgive all student loan debt.

"We haven't been paying these past few years because of the pandemic and the country hasn't crumbled," she said.

Constantine Yannelis, an associate professor of finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said wiping away up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt will not have a big impact on most people.

"I don't think anybody thinks that this is going to be the end of the student loan crisis," he said.

But Yannelis cautions against complete loan forgiveness. He said it would benefit higher-earners more.

"Policy makers should focus on targeting dollars of relief to those borrowers who need it the most, who would benefit the most, those people who have relative high loan balances relative to their very low incomes" he said.

Studies show across all racial groups Black people hold the most student loan debt and are more likely to struggle with repayment. According to The Education Trust report, Black women are the most burdened by student loan debt.