The Supreme Court has blocked the Biden administration from completing its plan to eliminate up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt, and millions of borrowers will continue to struggle under their debt burden.
These are the students who fall for the lure of aggressive for-profit institutions whose tall promises of high earnings never materialize. They are borrowers seeking advanced degrees that are often required for low-paying but demanding jobs in social work, the classroom or the courtroom.
These are women who take leave from the workforce to take care of their families and are unable to get the wages they used to.
Here are brief sketches of people in other circumstances who have struggled and whose challenges are likely to continue.
no degree but all debt
Gina McDevitt, 36, is one of millions of borrowers who have student loans but no degree, a group most likely to slip in default.
While working as a bra fitter at Macy’s, she tried to put herself through college in her early 20s and took the most practical route: She started at the College of San Mateo, a community college, and transferred to San Francisco State University. was planned to happen.
But the classes needed to complete her associate’s degree weren’t always provided, which meant she had to wait until classes were completed. Meanwhile, the cost of attending increased—but her Pell Grant and loan eligibility did not, and she soon found it difficult to make ends meet.
“I effectively had to pay the price,” said Ms. McDevitt, who left school with nearly $3,000 in debt, which swelled after deferring several times. “So I have $8,500 in student loans for a degree that will now be free,” he said. programs who make community colleges Free For eligible student, “With it I live alone, I’ve been in the same role for a while and I’m in the Bay Area and it’s very expensive here. I struggled.”
Ms McDevitt, who lives in Vallejo, California, and works in customer relationship management for a transportation company, said she was turned down for several promotions because she did not have the requisite degree. He recently trained someone who was promoted before him.
“As it stands now, the money I make does not cover my bills,” said Ms. McDevitt, whose loans defaulted just before the pandemic hit. “I’m the only person making less than $55,000 a year without a degree. The weight of the world is on my shoulders.”
Ms McDevitt is keen to start school again but cannot afford it.
When Monica Schmidt, 44, gave birth to her son in 2008, she was in her hospital room completing a huge term paper. Five months later, she earned her BS in Nursing from the University of Phoenix. Has received the title of.
She then earned a master’s degree, which would allow her to become a nurse practitioner and give her the option of teaching. Her husband, a sales manager at a food company, worked during the day while she looked after their children, who were 1 and 4. At night, she worked full-time as a supervisor at a skilled nursing facility while taking classes at Northern Illinois University. ,
“We couldn’t afford day care, so we worked opposite shifts,” said Ms. Schmidt, who lives in Genoa, Illinois, and now works as a nurse at a therapeutic day school.
But after three years of starting and restarting, it became more and more difficult to juggle with her young children, and she discontinued her coursework in 2013. However, the debt was to be kept by him. He now owes $64,000, more than half of which is for his graduate work.
Once her payments resume, she will be paying approximately $450 per month for the next 25 years or until her retirement. She has made 52 of the 120 eligible payments for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, but she must pay nearly $900 a month, an amount her family cannot afford, especially considering retirement and her two children’s college while saving for education.
Ms. Schmidt said, “I don’t want them to be in the same situation as me.”
a different kind of black tax
Recent college graduates with student loan debt like 23-year-old Doreen Rogers face questions constantly on their minds: Make extra loan payments or start a savings plan? Can I buy a home in the community where I grew up? (in his case, in Montgomery County, MD) How about money to start a family someday?
Asha Anthony, 20, a rising senior at Howard University, will leave college with a BA in legal communications and nearly $30,000 in debt. But she’s already considering how she’ll fulfill her dream of becoming a civil rights lawyer, which usually requires an additional six figures in student loans.
She has already received help from her mother – who raised three daughters while living alone with her parents and accumulated at least $30,000 in parent loans by the time Ms. Anthony graduates Must have done Yet his mother is still paying off her student loans.
Ms. Anthony said, “I am determined to get into law school because it is a high priority for me, as it is for many young black people, so that I can get into graduate schools and meet the goals I have set for myself. I can.” grew up in Mesa, Ariz. “It’s frustrating when thinking about the potential costs, as my family can only provide so much beyond my ability.”
Mr. Rogers also has high aspirations. He took an additional loan last year and started an online master’s degree in public administration. At the same time, he was working as a substitute teacher and DoorDash driver and served as president of the Maryland Youth and College Division for the NAACP. He wants to go into politics and sees education as a kind of national mandate, especially for such people.
“Education is a tool for bettering our communities, and institutions of higher education have been critical in moving our country forward,” he said.
With a bachelor’s degree in political science from Salisbury University in Maryland, he can’t help wondering: If legislators decided to bail out the nation’s banks during the 2008 financial crisis, why don’t they consider that people like him People deserve equal investment?
“If you are able to write off the debt, you will see reinvestment in the economy,” he said. “Home Ownership. Building Credit. Starting More Families.”
Federal PLUS loans for parents are a product designed for trouble, and that shows no signs of changing anytime soon.
This is because parents can borrow up to the cost of their child’s entire education, and it doesn’t matter how much they earn. In addition, many schools with high costs but few resources send financial aid notices to students and ask them to make up their shortfall with thousands of dollars in these loans.
Now, imagine you have three kids, are separated from your spouse and are making only $11.50 an hour after spending years raising them. Joanna Leiserson found herself in a similar predicament when she was living in Spokane, Washington, in 2000 and her oldest child was about to start college.
PLUS loans were the only way to afford the schools that best suited her children’s needs. After years of being unable to afford the payments – she became an Episcopal priest in 2005 – and having the loans forgiven, she is finally on an income-driven repayment program and has paid off her debt to allow her to enroll in public service. Have consolidated debt of $157,000. Loan Forgiveness Program. If she works for nine more years, her debt will be extinguished. Otherwise, it could easily stay with him until he dies.
“It weighs on me,” she said. “I’m not sure it’s true, but it seems like society will pay a price if I don’t.”
But any taxpayer subsidy is established public policy, based on laws that both Democrats and Republicans have signed over the years. And then there is the matter of some higher power who may have an opinion on the matter.
“I believe that God does not dwell on the specifics of our debts, but rather wants us as a community to consider the policies and underlying principles and values of our nation and ask ourselves if they are in line with God’s values. are aligned with,” Ms. Leiserson said. “It is a community in which all individuals can live sustainable lives of dignity and respect.”