NewsRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach


Will Biden Administration help those with student loan debt?

Amiekay Richcrick of West Palm Beach graduated college with student loan debt of $50,000 to $60,000.jpg
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 17:11:27-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There are more than two million people in Florida with student loan debt according to Student Loan Hero, a Lending Tree company.

Now that President Joe Biden is in the Oval Office, borrowers are waiting to see if his loan forgiveness proposals will come to fruition.

Student loan borrowers in Florida owe about an average of $35,500 in federal and private loan debt.

And many are waiting to see if they could be freed of up to $10,000 in federal loan debt as the president has proposed.

"It would be a huge relief off my shoulders," said Amiekay Richcrick of West Palm Beach.

Richcrick graduated college 11 years ago with a student loan debt of $50,000 to $60,000.

"Starting off it was $700 to $800 dollars a month that I was paying towards student loans. That's a rent payment. I couldn't afford to live anywhere," Richcrick said.

Student Loan Hero stats show that right now in Palm Beach County, the average monthly student loan payment is $292.

Richcrick has paid off the majority of her loans, but now that President Biden has extended the pause on federal student loan payments and interest accrual, many in her position wonder if loan forgiveness is next.

"Certainly that forgiveness proposal, while it does have support from the White House, is far from being a reality," said Andrew Pentis, a certified student loan counselor and senior writer for Student Loan Hero, a Lending Tree company that provides free resources to student borrowers.

"Iif you have $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 or more of student loan debt, in your case, if you’re financially able to right now, it could make sense to continue making payments and that’s because 100% of your payment will go towards attacking the principal," Pentis said.

Some say loan forgiveness now for those who qualify would not be fair to those who have recently paid off federal student loans.

"The issue isn’t that it’s being done. The issue is that it wasn’t done for you, and I think I can understand that resentment. I know people who feel that way," Richcrick said.

For now, borrowers can decide if pausing payments on federal student loans is in their best interest.

"I know someone who is not paying their loans because there is a hold on it and they are using that money to pay off their credit card debt," Richcrick said.