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Biden administration to extend pause on student loan payments

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 7:17 PM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - We are just days away from the swearing-in of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Over the weekend, his administration gave us some insight into some executive actions he will take immediately. One of those executive actions Biden will be taking is extending the pause in student federal loan payments.

The student debt crisis has been a big topic for Democrats, and it’s set to come to the forefront in Washington D.C. with Democrats controlling the House and set to take over the presidency and Senate.

Roughly 43 million Americans are hampered with a combined $1.7 trillion dollars in student loan debt. The pandemic has forced most Americans to tighten their budgets. That’s why the Trump administration put a hold on federal student loan payments. Now, the incoming Biden administration will do the same. But when it comes to the student debt crisis, what happens next?

The President-elect says under his plan, community college will be free and public colleges and universities will be tuition-free for families earning less than $125,000 a year.

LSUA’s Chancellor Dr. Paul Coreil knows all too well the importance of education to a community.

“We look at it almost like missionary work so that we can help raise the standard of living,” said Dr. Coreil. “Universities are crucial to providing a skilled workforce to keep an economy going. So we are the economic development engine, it’s where it begins.”

But for Dr. Coreil, like many other higher education leaders, they don’t want that workforce to hampered with student debt as soon as they’re handed a diploma. Back in December, soon to be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D–New York, and other leading Democrats called on Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt.

“Too many students and graduate students, some years out of school, student loans and federal student loans are becoming a forever burden,” said Sen. Schumer at a December news conference.

However, it’s unclear how the legislative battle will turn out.

“I’ve always been one for not creating the problem in the first place,” said Dr. Coreil.

Dr. Coreil hangs his hat on having the lowest tuition in the state. He said universities shouldn’t rely on tuition.

“Tuition has been the only source they’ve had of getting revenue because state support and appropriations have dropped,” said Dr. Coreil. “We need to stabilize that. We just can’t continue to put the needs of universities and the cost of universities on the backs of students.”

And ironically, Dr. Coreil said a lack of educating students and their families on what they are signing up for is part of the problem.

“There’s a lot of conversation on debt forgiveness, but I think we need to try and have a minimal need for that if we do a good job during the lending and borrowing process.”

President-elect Biden is expected to take executive action on pausing student loan payments in his first few days in office.

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