College students and graduates say they are waiting for Biden to forgive student loan debt as he promised

(CNN) — This week, President Joe Biden canceled $5.8 billion in federal student debt for more than half a million borrowers, the administration’s largest loan cancellation yet.

But millions more are anxiously waiting for Biden to deliver on his campaign promise to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt per student.

“It’s been such trials and tribulations,” said Vinessa Gabriell Russell, a recent college graduate. She became the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, but she also graduates with student debt.

“Last time I checked it was around $48,000. They pick you up,” Russell said.

She said a debt collector called her while she was working, “and they asked for Vinessa and they were like, ‘That’s the debt collector,’ basically.” We were trying to figure out when are you going to pay off your student debt?”

At one point, Russell temporarily dropped out of school.

“I had to leave Columbia and pay the balance due so I could go back,” she said.

But she is not alone. The data shows that there is about $1.6 trillion in federal debt in student loans.

Tayvia Ridgeway, a college junior, wants a six-figure salary, but right now she has nearly six-figure student loan debt.

“I would be between 80 and 100,000 just based on my tuition right now,” she said.

This is even after Ridgeway became a residence counselor to reduce her room and board costs.

“You should get free education because you can’t put a price on knowledge,” she said.

During the campaign trail, Biden promised to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for each of the 43 million people with federal student loans.

Due to the pandemic, he suspended loan repayments until August 31, but it’s unclear if and when the White House will move forward with some form of permanent loan forgiveness despite pressure from fellow Democrats. at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

“You don’t need Congress. All you need is the flick of a pen,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he pushed to forgive $50,000 in debt per borrower.

Biden rejected those calls. The White House said Biden is considering debt forgiveness for those earning up to $125,000.

Gabby Bach, like Ridgeway, was a Resident Advisor. She calls it a broken campaign promise.

“And I think that’s something that Biden promised and there’s something that I feel like he hasn’t delivered yet,” she said. “During the campaign, like that, it was something a lot of people who had voted for him, it was something they wanted.”

“I say it would only help a little. If anything, I would like my tuition covered. But, you know, that’s not the world we live in,” Ridgeway said.

Russell said she was glad for any relief.

“It would help me so much. It’s like an emotional experience because it took me so long and I almost gave up, and sorry, just thinking about it,” she said.

The forgiveness of $5.8 billion in student loan debt only applies to the 560,000 borrowers who attended the now-defunct network of for-profit schools known as Corinthian Colleges.

Total student loan debt forgiveness approved under the Biden administration is $25 billion.

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