Some people are of the view that President Joe Biden has essentially “eliminated” student loan debt for millions of Americans.
The head of a local agency that helps Western New Yorkers deal with their debts says Biden’s announced plan to provide college loan debt relief would certainly help the finances of many college graduates , but a full pardon isn’t in the works for many in Western New York, where the average graduate has just over $35,000 in total college debt.
“There really will be a wide range of effects on people’s financial situations,” said Noelle Carter, president and CEO of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo, Inc.
Biden unveiled a three-part plan last week to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt for low- and middle-income earners and up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients that would received student loans through the US Department of Education. Borrowers are eligible for relief if they earn less than $125,000, or $250,000 for couples.
Additionally, Biden announced that his administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments through December 31, 2022. This will allow people who have student debt to pause their monthly payments at least until the end of the year.
Carter said while the basic parameters of the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program are in place, his office is still awaiting additional details on what borrowers might have to do to actually qualify for the forgiveness. . Carter said there may be an application process involved, so it will be important for those in debt to pay attention and get up-to-date information as it becomes available.
“There’s a lot of confusion and questions that we don’t have answers to at this time, but it’s important that people stay informed of what’s going on because they may need to take action,” Carter said. .
According to Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc., there are currently 2.4 million New Yorkers with outstanding student loans totaling over $90 billion combined.
For older college grads who have already paid off their debt for years, Carter says it’s possible the Biden plan will eliminate the full amount or nearly the full amount of what they still owe.
According to Carter, many western New Yorkers with student debt do not fall into this category. According to the CCCS, the average amount of student debt in the region last year was $35,397, which equates to a monthly payment of $393.
“We see a lot of desperation and a lot of struggle for people who are burdened with a large amount of student debt,” Carter said. “We know from the clients we serve that this could be a helpful step for them to help them get out of crazy debt.”
For now, Carter said it’s important for residents of Niagara County and Western New York to pay attention to updates on the details of Biden’s college loan debt relief package. .
Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo, Inc. is a nonprofit organization established in 1965 to assist residents of Western New York with a wide range of financial assistance, including debt repayment, education credit report and small business advice.
People who have questions about student debt are encouraged to call CCCS to speak with a Certified Counselor at 716-712-2060.
“There’s a lot of confusion and questions that we don’t have answers to at this time, but it’s important that people stay informed of what’s going on because they may need to take action,” Carter said. . “If there’s a process at the palace to get the loans canceled, that’s something we could help people with.”