WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Biden administration has announced that the pause on federal student loan payments will be extended. While this extension may be a relief to some, others say it’s still not enough to help students and graduates. But even more so, it opens the door for a broader conversation about helping students with private loans too.
“President biden made the promise to cancel student debt.”Erin Swauger, Emerson College 2019 graduate
Erin Swauger lives and works in D.C. and graduated from Emerson College in May of 2019. She’s paid around $800 a month in both federal and private student loans for the last 2 years. But the pause on federal loans only brings down that monthly cost to $500.
“While it has helped me a little bit, I am still kind of being strung along like having these pauses, just it’s not a promise that there’s going to be a change,” Swauger said. “I can’t plan my life or budget around this possible extension of the past because it might go away anytime.”
Another D.C. Grad, who graduated in 2016, was lucky enough to pay off her federal student loans. But the burden of private loans still looms over her and others in a similar position. Sabrina Thulander started paying just the interest in her federal and private loans when she was still an undergraduate in 2013 and was able to pay off her federal loans around two years after graduating. She estimates that with her current repayment rate, it will take her another 10 years to pay off her private loans. She says the conversation around the freeze on federal loans should also open the floor to discuss the lack of assistance for private student loans.
“By leaving out private loans, you’re leaving out a lot of people who really need assistance,” Thulander said. “A lot of people take out these private student loans and those are so unregulated in comparison to the federal ones it really just puts everyone with private loans at a disadvantage”
The pause on the federal student loan payment was set to expire on May 1st. But now students and graduates will have until August 31 under the new extension before facing any new payments.