Ga. grads worry about possible end of student debt relief

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 12:02 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program is facing a challenge in the Supreme Court.

The program would forgive up to $10,000 for federal borrowers who make less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant users. Some Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit stating that the president doesn’t have the power to do it putting a pause on the program.

Some borrowers in Georgia say they’re confused about what’s next, while others who have paid off their debts say they’re feeling frustrated.

“I have a full-time job as a scientist but still not enough to pay off my debt, unfortunately,” said Jasmine Lupi, who graduated in 2018.

Graduates like Lupi, who’s facing about $19,000 worth of unpaid student loans, say they’re worried about what’s next if Biden’s debt relief program is ended by the Supreme Court.

“It was the first time in my life that I saw a vision of myself being able to own a home. The second that they unfreeze that and don’t resolve my loans, that vision is gone.”

Dr. Richard McGrath, an economics professor at Georgia Southern University, says relieving student debt, could create more economic opportunities for many.

“There are some real benefits to people having less debt that can help in the other direction. People who feel less strained to pay off a debt, may have more opportunities to be self employed, to do something creative that’s going to create a lot more future value,” said Dr. McGrath.

While others aren’t so fond of the program.

“It’s my tax money. I paid my way, my son’s paid his way, why can’t the rest of the world do that?” said Leighton Alston, who graduated in 1982.

But current borrowers are beginning to worry as the program remains in limbo. Like Doug Norton – who still owes about $35,000.

“I understand everybody behind us would be upset, but when does it get better? When’s that first day that it gets better? I would champion that with or without student loans,” said Doug Norton, who graduated in 2017.

According to the Department of Education, payments will resume 60 days after the Supreme Court announces their decision. If no decision is made by June 30th, payments will resume 60 days after that.