Student Loan Forgiveness: 59% of Borrowers Won’t Be Able to Make Payments Come June

A stack of one hundred dollar bills in a money wrapper labeled "Student Loan" on top of a blue graduation cap.
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When the student loan moratorium lifts next June, millions of Americans could be in hot water. According to a new Morning Consult poll, 59% of student loan borrowers said they may not be able to afford to resume their loan payments.

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Most adults who currently have federal student loans (66%) said they have experienced hardship in affording their payments in the past. 

The Biden administration announced in August that it plans to forgive $10,000 of debt for borrowers who make less than $125,000 annually (or less than $250,000 if married filing jointly), or $20,000 of debt for Pell Grant recipients. That plan is now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court — and has already been blocked by lower courts.  

But even if Biden’s relief plan does survive unscathed, many student loan borrowers will still owe — and struggle. According to the Morning Consult poll, 48% of adults with federal debt said that they owe more than $20,000 in federal loans.

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The Morning Consult poll also found that in the wake of several court cases, including an October ruling by the conservative 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that slammed the brakes on Biden’s loan cancellation plans, U.S. adults were most likely to point the finger at conservative judges and GOP lawmakers for blocking student loan forgiveness plans.    

When asked who they trust most to address how student loans are handled in the U.S, 47% of U.S. adults named the Department of Education, followed by Biden and Democrats in Congress (45% each). Additionally, about 4 in 5 Democrats said they trust the president and congressional Democrats to handle student debt, while some 3 in 5 said they trust liberal judges and the Department of Education. 

Republicans largely stuck with their party, saying they were most likely to trust congressional Republicans (69%) and conservative judges (57%) on the issue. 

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Independents were more neutral, with 37% saying they trust the Education Department, and 32% saying they trust the president and 31% trusting Democrats in Congress.

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About the Author

Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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