While social media is blowing up with memes and arguments about whether Biden should forgive a portion of student loans for millions of Americans making less than $125,000 if you are single and $250,000 if you are married, I decided to look a little deeper into my student loan quandary.
I don’t make $250,000 with my wife, who by the way never got a college education, but is somehow responsible for my student loans. I never got a Pell grant and apparently, I am not eligible for any kind of assistance at all because my loans may be private but no one can really tell me.
The whole debate over student loan forgiveness seems to whitewash over the fact that there is an albeit small percentage of people in this Nation who weren’t eligible for federal loans and could only get private loans, and therefore have no dog in this fight at all.
Of the nearly $2 Trillion in student debt in the US, private loans make up a little less than 8% of the total debt load for just over $131 Billion and I might be one of them except for the fact that The Federal Student Aid people say my loans are federal and the American Education Service People said my loans are private. After 20 years who really knows, right?
I am working on sussing that out, but the one takeaway I am getting is something we all seem to know- it’s complicated.
Student loans have never been easy to understand. That is perhaps the reason why so many of us got into trouble with them and we as a nation got buried in debt. I remember filling out the FAFSA form each semester and never really being sure what I was asking for in terms of loans or if I was doing it right. But the lady at the accounting office always seemed to make it right and my school always seemed to be happy to get the payment, so I didn’t ask too many questions.
I used to joke each time I signed the form, he who dies with the most debt, wins. But I am now 46, and death seems all too close, and I would hate to think I am going to die with nearly $70K in student debt.
The best quote I heard came from the guy I spoke to at AES when I called the hundredth time to figure out if I will ever see a dime from the Biden plan when he said, “we haven’t gotten any guidance from the federal government yet. It would be great if everyone got it because then I could just tell everyone that they are eligible.”
The Federal Government is so good at handing out perks to some and not others, though, and making it so complicated that no one really wants to try. Why should this next round of assistance be any different? They take great pride in looking like they are serving the public without actually doing anything at all.
Thumbnail Credits: Nuthawut Somsuk/Getty Images
- Student Loan Debt Statistics: 2022 – NerdWallet
- FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most – The White House
- Trouble Making Payments